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Conditions and Performance

2004 Conditions and Performance: Chapter 16 (Operational)
Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2004 Conditions and Performance
Chapter 16 (Continued)

Operational Performance

As discussed in Chapter 4, the operational performance of the highway system has been declining in urbanized areas based on a variety of measures.

The Percent of Additional Travel Time, Annual Hours of Delay, and Percent of Travel Under Congested Conditions measures highlighted in Chapter 4 are not computed separately by functional class. However, the Daily Vehicle Miles Traveled (DVMT) per Lane Mile statistics shown in Exhibits 4-12 through 4-14 show the increasing demands being placed on the Interstate System.

From 1993 to 2002, DVMT per lane mile increased from 4,329 to 5,711 on rural Interstate highways, from 6,252 to 7,955 on small urban Interstate highways and from 13,243 to 15,689 on Interstate highways in urbanized areas.


Exhibits 16-11 and 16-12 describe the number of fatalities and the fatality rate for Interstates between 1994 and 2002. While the number of fatalities has increased on both rural and urban Interstates, these roads are still safer on average than those in other functional classes. The fatality rate on rural Interstates has remained lower than any other rural functional class, and the fatality rate on urban Interestates has remained the lowest of any functional class. More detailed information about highway safety can be found in Chapter 5.

Exhibit 16-11 Number of Fatalities on the Interstate System, 1994-2002
Rural Interstates2,5662,9243,1053,2543,298
Urban Interstates2,1472,3212,2832,4192,482
Source: Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

The rural Interstate fatality rate was almost double that of urban Interstates for the period from 1994 to 2002. This is consistent with the statistics presented in Chapter 5, which showed that fatality rates are generally higher in rural areas.

Exhibit 16-12 Fatality Rates (per 100 Million VMT) on the Interstate System, 1994-2002
Rural Interstates1.
Urban Interstates0.650.660.610.610.61
Source: Fatality Analysis Reporting System.


All levels of government spent $17.1 billion for capital improvements on Interstate highways and bridges in 2000, which constituted 25.1 percent of the $68.2 billion of capital outlay on all functional classes. Exhibit 16-13 categorizes this total by type of improvement. System preservation expenditures constituted 53.0 percent of total capital spending on Interstates, system expansion 38.2 percent, and system enhancements 8.8 percent. See Chapter 6 for definitions of these three broad categories of improvement types.

Exhibit 16-13 Interstate Capital Expenditures, 2002
  Total Invested
(Billions of Dollars)
Percent of Total Interstate Percent of Total for
all Functional Classes
Rural Urban Total Rural Urban Total
System Preservation
Highway Preservation $2.8$3.1$5.934.5%11.4%12.7%24.1%
Bridge Preservation $1.2$1.9$3.218.5%10.9%17.3%28.1%
System Expansion
Additions to Existing Roadways $1.6$2.0$3.721.3%12.0%14.9% 26.9%
New Routes$0.5$2.2$2.715.8%4.6%18.4% 23.0%
New Bridges$0.0$0.2$0.21.0%1.8%13.8% 15.6%
System Enhancements$0.4$1.1$1.58.8%6.7%18.9%25.5%
Total Investment$6.6$10.5$17.1100.0%9.7%15.4%25.1%
Sources: Highway Statistics 2002, Table SF-12A and unpublished FHWA data.

Capital investment on Interstate highways increased sharply between 2000 and 2002, rising 21.6 percent; while total capital investment on all functional classes rose by only 11.2 percent. Exhibit 16-14 shows that rural Interstate spending rose by 48.2 percent between these two years, driven by an increase in rural Interstate bridge preservation of 181.5 percent and rural Interstate widening of 137.3 percent.

It is important to note that for a particular functional class (such as rural Interstates) and a particular type of capital improvement (such as bridge preservation), year-to-year spending is much more variable than for total capital investment of all types and can be more easily affected by large individual projects that happen to have a high level of cash outlays in a given year. It would be premature to suggest that the changes in expenditure patterns observed between 2000 and 2002 represent a long-term trend. This comparison is included primarily to help put into perspective the comparisons of 2002 spending with future capital investment requirements discussed later in this chapter.

Exhibit 16-14 Interstate Capital Expenditures, 2002 Versus 2000
(Billions of Dollars)
(Billions of Dollars)
Percent Change
2002 Versus 2000
System Preservation
Highway Preservation$2.8$3.2$5.9$2.8$3.1$5.90.8%-1.4%-0.3%
Bridge Preservation$0.4$1.2$1.6$1.2$1.9$3.2181.5%62.0%93.7%
System Expansion
Additions to Existing Roadways$0.7$1.8$2.5$1.6$2.0$3.7137.3%11.4%46.0%
New Routes$0.3$2.4$2.7$0.5$2.2$2.787.0%-8.6%1.7%
New Bridges$0.0$0.4$0.4$0.0$0.2$0.2-23.4%-58.9%-56.6%
System Enhancements$0.2$0.7$0.9$0.4$1.1$1.560.2%58.3%58.8%
Total Investment$4.5$9.6$14.1$6.6$10.5$17.148.2%9.2%21.6%
Sources: Highway Statistics 2002, Table SF-12A and unpublished FHWA data.

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