TRICK or TREAT?!? The Daunting Future of Transportation in America

October 30, 2015 Ed Rusch

Scary Projections from the US Department of Transportation

Just in time for Halloween, consider this:

The average American already spends more than 40 hours each year stuck in traffic. The annual cost of that congestion is $121 billion. The second-largest expense for US households is transportation.

Truck congestion currently wastes $27 billion annually in time and fuel. The transportation sector is responsible for 28% of US greenhouse gas emissions. By 2045, the US economy is projected to grow to $36.7 trillion, a 115% increase. The transportation sector will account for $1.6 billion. Freight volume will grow to 29 billion tons, valued at $39 trillion. Most of it will move by truck. Nearly 30,000 miles of highway will be clogged each day.


More than two-thirds of US population and employment falls within 11 mega-regions interconnected by transportation, economics and other links. One-third of the nation’s income goes into the hands of 10% of the population.

US transit infrastructure is underfunded and in disrepair. 65% of roads are ranked less than good. 25% of bridges need significant repair, rebuilding or closure. Half of waterway locks and chambers are at least a half-century old. The Federal gas tax has not increased in more than two decades. As fuel economy standards improve over the next decade, gas tax revenues will fall more than $50 billion. The Transportation Trust Fund’s annual transit shortfall is $4 billion. Its highway shortfall is $12 billion.

Are you afraid yet?

If not, read Beyond Traffic, the new US Department of Transportation study that examines data and projections to map the trends and choices – and critical decisions – we face in the next 30 years. It’s described not as a solution but as an invitation to a conversation.

Read the full 322-page study at

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