TRIP Report Urges a Focus on California’s Failing Infrastructure

August 21, 2018
California highway traffic.

TRIP has released key transportation facts on California infrastructure, noting that driving on insufficient roadways costs residents a total of $61 billion each year. In the report, it has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC).

TRIP has also provided statistics on state safety and traffic, along with an overview of additional structure condition (bridges, roads, etc.)


Costs of Deficient Roads

These costs generally occur as a result of driving on rough roads, cost of wasted time and fuel due to congestion, and cost of crashes. Los Angeles saw the highest total costs at $2,995 per year, with Riverside-San Bernardino following a close second at $2,675 per year. This totals to $61 billion per year.

Rough Roads

Inadequate state and local funding put 68 percent of major roads and highways in California in poor or mediocre condition, costing the average state driver an extra $843 annually in additional vehicle operating costs. This totaled to $22.1 billion statewide. San Francisco-Oakland saw the highest poor percentage out of all urban areas, with 77 percent of the area’s roads being deemed in “poor” condition.

Bridge Conditions

More than 1,500 of California’s bridges are structurally deficient, meaning significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports, or other major components. Most bridges are also at least 50 years old. Los Angeles had the most structurally deficient bridges totaling at 176, with Fresno-Madera-Visalia-Hanford following behind at 146.



California Roads are increasingly congested, costing drivers $29.1 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. Drivers lose up to $1,774 and spend nearly three and a half full days each year in congestion.


Safety and Fatalities

Over the last five years, 15,730 people were killed in California traffic crashes. In 2016, crashes imposed a total of $29.4 billion in economic costs. In Chico-Redding, the highest location for crash costs, the average amount costed $743,000.


Traffic Fatalities

A total of 15,730 people were killed in traffic crashes from 2012-2016. Three major factors are associated with the crashes: driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. Features that impact safety include: the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane marketings rumble strips, shoulders, guardrails, other shielding devices, median barriers, and intersection design.


Economic Development

The health and future of the state’s economy depends on its transportation system. However, increases in passenger and freight movement will place an additional burden on this problem.

Approximately 7.1 million full-time jobs in California in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are dependent on state’s transportation network. The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in California play a critical role in the state’s economy.


SB 1

California’s Road Repair and Accountability Act (SB 1) will increase the state’s gasoline and diesel taxes, placing a transportation investment fee on vehicles and initiating an annual fee on zero emission vehicles. This would increase state revenues by $5.2 billion over the next decade. In November, Californians could vote to repeal SB 1.


Transportation and Economic Growth, California’s Future

Today’s culture demands an area have well-maintained and efficient roads. Investment in California’s infrastructure is funded by local, state, and federal governments. A lack of sufficient funding at all levels will make it difficult to improve and maintain the state’s transportation system.

Modernizing California’s transportation system is critical to quality of life and economic competitiveness. Deteriorated transportation will negatively affect the economy. To accommodate population and economic growth, maintain economic competitiveness, and achieve more growth, the state will need to modernize its roads, highways and bridges.

The approval of SB 1 in 2017 has allowed the state to increase its annual investment in roads, bridges, highways, transit systems, bike paths, and pedestrian facilities by $5.2 billion annually. Maintaining this funding is critical in improving infrastructure conditions.

Source: TRIP