If you’ve been driving a few years, you might have noticed that the highways are becoming more congested. In 1950, there were 15 vehicles in the United States for each mile of road (paved and unpaved). In 2013, that number had increased to 63, a rise of 320 percent. When you look at miles driven versus miles of roadway, the statistics are similar, showing an increase of 353 percent over the six-plus decades.
The reasons for the increased congestion are pretty obvious. It’s easier for individuals to purchase automobiles than it is for federal, state, and local governments to build new highways. The construction cost for a two-lane highway in a rural or suburban area is around $2 – 3 million dollars per mile. Building a six-lane interstate in an urban area can run the cost up to $11 million per mile.
Though we complain about traffic congestion and the gridlock it causes, there is one bright spot in this data. While congestion has risen, traffic fatalities have declined.
The actual number of traffic fatalities declined from 33,186 in 1950 to 32,719 in 2013. But that’s not the whole story. If you factor in miles driven, fatalities went down by 479 percent.
What contributed to this reduction? There are many answers, among them are:
- Stricter requirement for obtaining various types of drivers’ licenses,
- More comprehensive traffic laws and better enforcement by authorities,
- A higher quality of driver education and safety promotion by public schools and private driving academies,
- Better training for drivers of commercial vehicles and better fleet monitoring while drivers are on the roads,
- Federal, state, and private promotion of highway safety, including by groups such as the National Safety Council, MADD, etc.
DriverCheck is committed to helping fleets reduce their collisions. As the originator of the How’s My Driving industry, we are experts in driver monitoring through our How’s My Driving service and through telematics. For more information, please find us here.
Data from which the above blog was created was compiled from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.
|Miles of Roads