When American motorists talk about transportation problems, they generally key in on traffic. Snarled highways, epic commutes, and gridlocked business and commercial districts mar our suburban existence, weighing heavily upon our elected leaders, our policymakers, and our families. Yet a more costly problem needs to be addressed on America’s roads: motor vehicle crashes. In 2009, traffic crashes killed 33,808 people in the United States – about 93 deaths per day, and nearly four every hour. These figures have been on the decline, in part, due to legislative changes (e.g., state highway safety improvement programs) and advances in the science of safety (e.g., vehicle crash avoidance systems) that have ushered in new approaches for states, regions, and localities to address safety issues and challenges. However, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death among ages 5-34 in the United States and, in terms of years of life lost, rank third, behind only cancer and heart disease. Most Americans would be surprised to learn the societal costs associated with motor vehicle crashes significantly exceed the costs of congestion.
AAA released a report in 2008 examining the costs of crashes to society. The study, along with recommendations for improvements, was designed to raise awareness among policy-makers, departments of transportation, and the public about the magnitude of the safety problem and the importance of transportation investments for reducing the number and severity of crashes. AAA embarked on an update to this study in 2011 to revisit results based on the most recent available data.
About Cambridge Systematics
“We are transportation specialists, dedicated to ensuring that transportation investments deliver the best possible results. By providing innovative policy and planning solutions, objective analysis, and technology applications, we help our clients meet future transportation needs while improving the performance of existing infrastructure and operations. Above all, we are committed to our clients’ success in making transportation better for future generations. This commitment has resulted in strong relationships and repeat business with our clients. In fact, in our recent client feedback survey; 92% of respondents rated our relationship; responsiveness; availability of project manager; quality of deliverables; and overall success of their project as either excellent or very good.”