On average, we take 220 million steps in our lives and we spend about 38,000 hours commuting in a car. It’s not surprising that our commercials are filled with the latest running shoes and the most innovative vehicles. However, we rarely talk about the transportation infrastructure that enables us to commute the way we do. Mainly people tune out as soon as they hear the word ‘infrastructure’ and this is a common reaction when infrastructure is a topic of discussion:
But managing our transportation infrastructure is more important than one might think.
US roads support 3.2 trillion miles of travel each year, equivalent of driving to Pluto and back 300 times! To maintain this vast network, we need $150 to $200 billion each year but municipalities only receive $60 Billion. Pavement management systems allow us to spend our limited funds wisely while justifying the need for more investments. Discussing pavement management is important when we consider the huge impacts they can have.
Pavement Management Systems can save lives
A recent World Health Organization report has indicated that traffic fatalities are the main cause of death for people between 5 and 29 years-old in the US. Over one-third of all traffic fatalities are directly caused by poor road conditions. It is not exaggerating to say a smart pavement management system can save lives.
Pavement Management Systems can save drivers money
On average, a little over 3 million American drivers experience road-related damages each year. This can be anything from popping a tire, to bending a rim, to blowing out shock absorbers. The cost of these expenses equates to 120 Billion dollars to American drivers each year!
Pavement Management Systems can save municipalities money
Yes, if municipalities spend money on improving their roads, they will end up saving money by increasing the value of their assets. Roads and sidewalks are arguably the most valued asset a municipality owns.
Pavement Management Systems can improve the environment
It is estimated that poor roadways are causing 4% of annual Greenhouse emissions. Improving our transportation infrastructures can have huge impacts on the environment!
Pavement Management Systems can help winning elections
It is in politicians’ interest to improve our infrastructures too. As it turns out, having better roads can directly impact the chances of winning re-elections. Within six months of San Diego’s mayoral election, every 5 pothole complaints lowered the mayor’s approval rating by one point!
While smart mobility is something we strive for, our roads need drastic improvements to be able to support it. We always lack funding to fix every single problem. Consequently, we need to be smart about how we spend our limited budget. Pavement Management Systems can help us with that. Additionally, they can save lives and money while improving the environment. Infrastructure management might not be as exciting to us as the next high-tech vehicle, but it enables those technologies to operate in our world.