TRIP: Poor roads and bridges, traffic jams costing N.Y. drivers $24.8B a year

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Updated Dec 8, 2018
More bridge and road work is needed in New York, where 52 percent of the bridges are 50 years old or older, according to TRIP’s new report. The organization would like to see more projects like the bridge on Route 73 south of Lake Placid, shown above, that was completed in 2017. Photo by NYSDOTMore bridge and road work is needed in New York, where 52 percent of the bridges are 50 years old or older, according to TRIP’s new report. The organization would like to see more projects like the bridge on Route 73 south of Lake Placid, shown above, that was completed in 2017. Photo by NYSDOT

The national nonprofit TRIP organization estimates that New York drivers are, on average, each losing $2,768 a year because of poor, unsafe roads and bridges and traffic jams.

In all, these problems are costing the state $24.8 billion a year, according to the report, New York Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility.

It says 28 percent of the local and state roads in New York are in poor condition; 21 percent are in mediocre condition, and 10 percent of the bridges that are at least 20 feet long are in poor condition. City streets are also becoming more congested, and unsafe roads are causing crashes.

TRIP says all that amounts to extra “vehicle operating costs” (VOC), which include costs incurred from driving on rough roads that lead to costly repairs and additional maintenance, lost time and fuel because of traffic, and crashes.

Other highlights of the report:

  • 74 annual hours of delay for the average motorist in the largest urban areas, costing the state’s drivers a total of $13 billion each year in lost time and wasted fuel.
  • 52 percent of New York’s bridges are at least 50 years old.
  • 5,552 people died from crashes between 2012 and 2016. The financial impact costs New York drivers a total of $4.8 billion.

“Driving on deficient New York roads comes with a $24.8 billion yearly price tag for the state’s motorists,” says Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Adequate funding for the state’s transportation system would allow for smoother roads, more efficient mobility, enhanced safety, and economic growth opportunities while saving New York’s drivers time and money.”

In addition to the statewide report, TRIP has produced customized regional reports for the Albany-Schenectady-TroyBinghamtonBuffalo-Niagara FallsNew York-Newark-Jersey CityPoughkeepsie-Newburgh-MiddletownRochesterSyracuse and Utica areas.

The TRIP report’s breakdown of the costs to drivers by New York region and the state’s total cost.The TRIP report’s breakdown of the costs to drivers by New York region and the state’s total cost.