Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2002 Conditions and Performance Report
Part I: Description of Current System
Part II: Investment Performance Analyses
Part III: Bridges
Part IV: Special Topics
Part V: Supplemental Analyses of System Components
This is the fifth in a series of combined documents prepared
by the Department of Transportation to satisfy requirements for reports
to Congress on the condition, performance, and future capital investment
requirements of the Nation's highway and transit systems. This report
incorporates highway and bridge information required by Section 502(g)
of Title 23, United States Code (U.S.C.), as well as transit system information
required by Section 308(e) of Title 49 U.S.C. Beginning in 1993, the Department
combined two existing report series that covered highways and transit
separately to form this report series. Prior to this, 11 reports had been
issued on the condition and performance of the Nation's highway systems,
starting in 1968. Five separate reports on the Nation's transit systems'
performance and conditions were issued beginning in 1984.
Report PurposeThis document is intended to provide Congress and other decision makers with an objective appraisal of highway, bridge and transit physical conditions, operational performance, financing mechanisms and future investment requirements. This report offers a comprehensive, factual background to support the development and evaluation of legislative, program, and budget options at all levels of government. It also serves as a primary source of information for national and international news media, transportation associations, and industry.
This report consolidates conditions, performance, and finance data provided by States, local governments, and mass transit operators, to provide a national level summary. Some of the underlying data are available through the Department's regular statistical publications. The future investment requirements analyses are developed specifically for this report and provide national level projections only.
Report OrganizationThe report begins with an Executive Summary section that highlights the key findings in each chapter. This section will also be distributed as a separate stand-alone summary document.
The main body of the report is organized into five major sections. Part I, $quot;Description of Current System$quot; and Part II, $quot;Investment/Performance Analysis$quot; include the core analyses of the report. Parts I and II correspond to the first ten chapters of the 1999 edition, with the exception of Chapter 1. Chapters 2 through 10 begin with a combined summary of highway and transit issues, followed by separate sections discussing highways and transit in more detail. This structure is intended to accommodate both report users who want a multi-modal perspective, as well as those who may primarily be interested in only one of the two modes.
The six Chapters in Part I comprise the core retrospective analyses of the report.
Highway Data SourcesHighway condition and performance data are derived from the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS), a cooperative data/analytical effort dating from the late-1970s that involves the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and State and local governments. The HPMS includes a statistically drawn sample of over 100,000 highway sections containing data on current physical and operating characteristics as well as projections of future travel growth on a section-by-section basis. All HPMS data are provided to the FHWA through State departments of transportation from existing State or local government databases or transportation plans and programs, including those of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs).
The HPMS data are collected in accordance with the $quot;Highway Performance Monitoring System Field Manual for the Continuing Analytical and Statistical Data Base.$quot; This document is designed to create a uniform and consistent database by providing standardized collection, coding, and reporting instructions for the various data items. The FHWA reviews the State-reported HPMS data for completeness, consistency, and adherence to reporting guidelines. Where necessary, and with close State cooperation, data may be adjusted to improve uniformity.
State and local finance data are derived from the financial reports provided by the States to FHWA in accordance with $quot;A Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics.$quot; These are the same data used in compiling the annual "Highway Statistics" report. The FHWA adjusts these data to improve completeness, consistency, and uniformity.
Bridge Data SourcesBridge condition data are obtained from the National Bridge Inventory (NBI), which includes all bridges that are covered by the National Bridge Inspection Standards and are located on a public road. Generally, each bridge is inspected at least once every 2 years, although bridges with higher risks of engineering problems are inspected more frequently, and certain low-risk bridges get less frequent inspections.
Transit Data SourcesTransit data are derived from the National Transit Database (NTD). (This information was formerly known as Section 15 data). The NTD includes detailed summaries of financial and operating information provided to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) by the Nation's transit agencies. The NTD program provides information needed for planning public transportation services and investment strategies. Supplementing this information on transit facilities and fleets with additional information collected directly from transit operators provides a complete picture of the Nation's transit facilities and equipment.
Other Data SourcesOther data sources are also used in the special topics and supplemental analyses sections of the report. For example, some highway safety performance data are drawn from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). The Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS) provides general information on transportation system users and the nature of their trips. Transit user characteristics and system benefits are based on customer survey statistics collected by the Transit Performance Monitoring System (TPMS).
Investment Requirement Analytical ProceduresThe earliest versions of the reports in this combined series relied exclusively on engineering-based estimates for future investment requirements, which considered only the costs of transportation agencies. This philosophy failed to adequately consider another critical dimension of transportation programs: the impacts of transportation investments on the costs incurred by the users of the transportation system. Executive Order 12893, Principles for Federal Infrastructure Investments, dated January 1994, directs each executive department and agency with infrastructure responsibilities to base investments on $quot;...systematic analysis of expected benefits and costs, including both quantitative and qualitative measures....$quot; To address the deficiencies in earlier versions of this report and to meet the challenge of this executive order, new analysis approaches have been developed. The analytical tools now used in this report have added an economic overlay to the projection of future investment requirements. These newer tools use benefit/cost analysis to minimize the combination of capital investment and user costs to achieve different levels of highway performance.
The highway investment requirements in this report are developed in part from the Highway Economic Requirements System (HERS), which uses marginal benefit/cost analysis to optimize highway investment. The HERS model quantifies user, agency and societal costs for various types and combinations of improvements, including travel time, vehicle operating, safety, capital, maintenance, and emissions costs.
This edition of the report is the first in which the National Bridge Investment Analysis System (NBIAS) model has been used to develop the bridge investment requirements. Comparably to HERS, NBIAS includes benefit/cost analysis in its calculations. Previous bridge estimates were derived using engineering criteria only.
The transit investment analysis is based on the Transit Economic Requirements Model (TERM). The TERM consolidates older engineering-based evaluation tools and introduces a benefit/cost analysis to ensure that investment benefits exceed investment costs. Specifically, TERM identifies the investments needed to replace and rehabilitate existing assets, improve operating performance, and expand transit systems to address the growth in travel demand, and then evaluates these needs in order to select future investments.
While HERS, NBIAS, and TERM all utilize benefit-cost analysis, their methods for implementing this analysis are very different. The highway, transit, and bridge models build off separate databases that are very different from one another. Each model makes use of the specific data available for its part of the transportation system, and addresses issues unique to each mode. These three models have not yet evolved to the point where direct multimodal analysis would be possible. For example, HERS assumes that when lanes are added to a highway, this causes highway user costs to fall, resulting in additional highway travel. Some of this would be newly generated travel; some would be the result of travel shifting from transit to highways. However, HERS does not distinguish between these different sources of additional highway travel. At present, there is no direct way to analyze the impact that a given level of highway investment would have on transit investment requirements (or vice versa).