Thursday, June 28, 2018
Report Available at

Contact: Carolyn Bonifas Kelly703.801.9212 (cell)
Rocky Moretti 202.262.0714 (cell)
TRIP office 202.466.6706


Eds.: The report includes regional pavement conditions, congestion levels, highway safety data, and cost breakdowns for the Colorado SpringsDenver,Northern ColoradoGrand Junction and Pueblo areas. 

Denver, CO– Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Colorado motorists a total of $7.1 billion statewide annually – $2,306 per driver in the Denver urban area – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Colorado, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

The TRIP report, Colorado Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Colorado, two-fifths of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and six percent of locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The report also finds that Colorado’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce.

Driving on roads in the Denver area costs the average driver $2,306 per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Colorado Springs, Denver, Northern Colorado, Grand Junction and Pueblo areas.  A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area, along with a statewide total, is below.

  VOC Safety Congestion Total
Colorado Springs $702 $388 $850 $1,940
Denver $739 $377 $1,190 $2,306
Northern Colorado $547 $728 $405 $1,680
Grand Junction $611 $649 $229 $1,489
Pueblo $822 $474 $270 $1,566
Colorado Statewide $1.9 Billion $2.1 Billion $3.1 Billion $7.1 Billion

The TRIP report finds that 68 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in the Denver area are in poor or mediocre condition, costing the average motorist an additional $739 each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“This report shows us in dollars and cents just how much our failure to invest is costing us all,” said Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.  “We know it will only get worse until we create a sustainable solution for funding transportation and are able to make the improvements we need to move more people and goods safely and efficiently. Reading the TRIP report paints the clearest picture possible of why Coloradans have been speaking out in frustration about the state of our transportation system. We’re paying today without any strategic investment of those dollars.”

Traffic congestion in the Denver area is worsening, causing 52 annual hours of delay for the average motorist and costing the average driver $1,190 each year in lost time and wasted fuel.

“We’re proud that the South Denver region is a hotbed for job growth, but we also know that our transportation system isn’t keeping pace,” said Mike Fitzgerald, president and CEO of the Denver South Economic Development Partnership.  “The TRIP report clearly shows the burden that our antiquated roads and bridges are placing on motorists and businesses.  Competition for quality jobs is tough, and we need a sustainable funding commitment to transportation that will support our expanding economy and our world-class quality of life.”

Six percent of Colorado’ bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. In the Denver area, four percent (33 of 690) of bridges are structurally deficient.

“At AAA, we are strong advocates for building and maintaining a modern, safe system of roads and bridges throughout Colorado,” said J. Skyler McKinley, Director of Public Relations & Government Affairs for AAA Colorado.  “The TRIP report shows the immense cost of poorly maintained roads in terms of injuries in accidents, lives lost, repair costs and lost time at work.  Colorado needs a robust and reliable transportation funding system that can help improve our roads and prevent traffic crashes across our state.”

Traffic crashes in Colorado claimed the lives of 2,595 people between 2012 and 2016. Colorado’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.17 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is on par with the national average of 1.18.  The fatality rate on Colorado’s non-interstate rural roads is more than double that on all other roads in the state (1.97 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.96). In the Denver area, on average, 132 people were killed in traffic crashes each year from 2014 to 2016. The financial impact of traffic crashes costs each Denver driver an average of $377 annually.

The efficiency and condition of Colorado’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $323 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Colorado, mostly by trucks, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system. The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Colorado supports 77,308 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy.

“Driving on deficient Colorado roads comes with a $7.1 billion price tag for the state’s motorists,” said 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 Colorado’s drivers time and money.”