By Matthew Fleming, September 11, 2014
It’s no secret that L.A.’s roads are bad – overcrowded and kept in a
constant state of disrepair that’s dangerous to both vehicle and driver.
But a study released Thursday actually quantifies just how much Angelenos should hate the roads.
average Los Angeles driver wastes $2,500 per year in costs associated
with the lousy roads, the study estimates. That number accounts for
higher vehicle operating costs, accidents and congestion-related delays.
But it’s not just Angelenos who have angered the road gods. The
study estimates that California motorists waste $44 billion annually in
“A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted
in more than one-third of major roads and highways in California having
pavement surfaces in poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing
motorist (sic) in the form of additional vehicle operating costs,” the
The higher operating costs are caused by
“accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional vehicle repair costs,
increased fuel consumption and increased tire wear,” according to the
study, which was conducted by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based private
nonprofit focused on surface transportation issues.
Of the about
$2,500 that Angelenos burn each year –$2,458 to be exact – TRIP
estimates that Angelenos lose $1,300 annually in wasted fuel and lost
opportunities. Ouch. And on top of that, the average Los Angeles driver
loses 61 hours annually to congestion – which is longer than the entire
“Breaking Bad” TV series.
The study also suggests that fixing
the roads would reduce traffic fatalities, noting that one-third of all
fatal and serious traffic crashes in California are related to roadway
features. It says 14,878 people were killed in traffic crashes in
California from 2008 to 2012, averaging 2,976 per year.
severity of traffic crashes could be reduced through roadway
improvements, where appropriate, such as adding turn lanes, removing or
shielding obstacles, adding or improving medians, widening and paving
shoulders, improving intersection layout, and providing better road
markings and upgrading or installing traffic signals,” notes the study.
The solution comes down to funding. The problem is that it would require an act of Congress.
conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made
available at the state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s
executive director. “Congress can help by approving a long-term federal
surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels,
based on a reliable funding source.”