A new report from the Surface Transportation Policy Project questions whether the benefits of road construction are really worth the delays in congestion during construction.
The STTP study, "Road Work Ahead: Is Construction Worth the Wait?" found that it can take years for commuters to break even. The group says in some cases, lost time can never be made up. It cites as an example the massive eight-year project outside the nation's capital at the Springfield, VA, I-95 interchange.
"This report shows the drawbacks of using road construction as the only solution to easing congestion," says Roy Kienitz, STTP executive director. The group recommends alternative ways to solve the problems of clogged roads, including clearing accidents more quickly, increasing train and bus service, and designing communities so people can drive less.
The Road Information Program counters the report, saying that highway construction projects are need to help save lives, reduce traffic accidents, relieve congestion and address transportation needs in the years ahead.
"While we support a progressive transportation policy that addresses transportation congestion both with expanded transportation facilities and programs to reduce some travel demand, we find fault with the suggestion that communities not improve their road network because it will cause short-term delays," says William Wilkins, TRIP executive director.