Just Fix It Wisconsin

TRIP releases Wisconsin Transportation BY THE NUMBERS Report 5/5/2016



Eds.: The report includes regional pavement condition, congestion levels, highway safety data, and cost breakdowns for the Madison and Milwaukee urban areas.  Info-graphics for each area can be downloaded here.

Click here for a short, graphic executive summary.

Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Wisconsin motorists a total of $6 billion statewide annually – nearly $2,100 per driver in the Madison and Milwaukee urban areas- 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 Wisconsin, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Wisconsin Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Wisconsin, 42 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads are in mediocre to poor condition and another 39 percent are in fair condition. Fourteen percent of Wisconsin’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And 2,743 people were killed annually in crashes on Wisconsin’s roads from 2011 to 2015, with traffic fatalities increasing 13 percent in 2015 to 556 from 494 in 2014.

Driving on deficient roads costs each Madison area driver $2,072 per year and Milwaukee area drivers $2,060 a 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 calculated the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Madison and Milwaukee urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.


A total of 14 percent of Wisconsin’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards.  Nine percent of Wisconsin’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional five percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete, which means they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. In the Madison urban area, nine percent of bridges are structurally deficient and nine percent are functionally obsolete.

Wisconsin’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.08. The state’s rural roads have a traffic fatality rate that is more than double than the rate on all other roads in the state (1.24 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel versus 0.54). TRIP estimates that roadway features may be a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.

The efficiency and condition of Wisconsin’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $264 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Wisconsin and another $236 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Wisconsin, mostly by truck.

“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the local, state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without additional transportation funding Wisconsin transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, the state will miss out on opportunities for economic growth and quality of life will suffer.”