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FHWA Home / Policy & Governmental Affairs / 2002 Conditions and Performance

Conditions and Performance

Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2002 Conditions and Performance Report

Executive Summary
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Executive Summary
Part I: Description of Current System
Ch1: The Role of Highways and Transit
Ch2: System and Use Characteristics
Ch3: System Conditions
Ch4: Operational Performance
Ch5: Safety Performance
Ch6: Finance

Part II: Investment Performance Analyses
Ch7: Capital Investment Requirements
Ch8: Comparison of Spending and Investment Requirements
Ch9: Impacts of Investment
Ch10: Sensitivity Analysis

Part III: Bridges
Ch11: Federal Bridge Program Status of the Nation's Bridges

Part IV: Special Topics
Ch12: National Security
Ch13: Highway Transportation in Society
Ch14: The Importance of Public Transportation
Ch15: Macroeconomic Benefits of Highway Investment
Ch16: Pricing
Ch17: Transportation Asset Management
Ch18: Travel Model Improvement Program
Ch19: Air Quality
Ch20: Federal Safety Initiatives
Ch21: Operations Strategies
Ch22: Freight

Part V: Supplemental Analyses of System Components
Ch23: Interstate System
Ch24: National Highway System
Ch25: NHS Freight Connectors
Ch26: Highway-Rail Grade Crossings
Ch27: Transit Systems on Federal Lands

Appendix A: Changes in Highway Investment Requirements Methodology
Appendix B: Bridge Investment/Performance Methodology
Appendix C: Transit Investment Condition and Investment Requirements Methodology
List of Contacts

Ch 21: Operations Strategies

Historically, highway agencies have focused most of their attention on building and maintaining roads. Much less attention has been paid to operating the road system to provide the highest level of service possible. With increasing congestion, the expense and difficulty of building new facilities, and the need for safe and secure highways, this view has begun to change.

Many highway officials now recognize that operations strategies can make a major difference in how the highway system performs.

Operations strategies can influence the reliability, timeliness, security, and safety of highway use; this chapter primarily looks at the first two impacts.

Reliable, predictable travel times are especially important in a society where travelers put a high value on their own time and where many goods are relatively expensive and are needed in tightly scheduled manufacturing and distribution systems.

A reliable transportation system, however, is inadequate if it does not get travelers to their destinations within a reasonable time.

Traveler needs and economic efficiency are not served if highways slow consistently to a crawl. In addition to the temporary sources of capacity loss and delay, recurring congestion and poor traffic control increase travel time, adding significantly to the cost of travel and goods movement.

With more attention to operations, lives will be saved and Americans will be less vulnerable to congestion, incidents, work zones, weather, and traffic control problems.

Ch 22: Freight

Freight transportation enables economic activity, and trucking is a key element of freight transportation. The condition and performance of the highway system is crucial to the efficiency and effectiveness of trucking. Recent growth in truck traffic is placing greater burdens on the highway system.

Nearly seven million businesses rely on the U.S. transportation network to conduct local business, engage in interstate commerce, and carry out international trade. At the same time, more than 100 million households rely on freight transportation to provide access to goods and services produced by businesses both here and abroad.

Although commercial vehicles account for less than 10 percent of all vehicle-miles of travel, truck traffic is growing faster than passenger vehicle traffic and having major effects on intercity highways. Trucks already account for more than 30 percent of traffic on about 20 percent of Interstate System mileage. This share is likely to grow substantially if the demand for freight transportation doubles over the next 20 years, as expected by many forecasters.

More than 25,000 miles of highway will carry more than 5,000 commodity-carrying trucks per day. Approximately one-fifth of that mileage will be significantly congested. Congestion is particularly onerous for freight companies and manufacturers who depend on the efficient shipment of materials and finished products. Congestion represents a hidden tax to these firms, which value speed and reliability. The U.S. Department of Transportation is working with its State and local partners to reduce congestion and eliminate bottlenecks in the surface transportation system.

Page last modified on November 7, 2014
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