Surface Transportation: Strategies Are Available for Making Existing Road Infrastructure Perform Better

GAO-07-920 Published: Jul 26, 2007. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 2007.
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For the past several decades, the capacity of the nation's road network has not grown fast enough to keep pace with demand. The increasing congestion is apparent to millions of commuters and freight operators. Although road building is perhaps the most familiar antidote, Congress, the Department of Transportation (DOT), and transportation research have emphasized the need to more efficiently use the existing infrastructure as a means to control congestion. GAO was asked to examine various issues associated with increasing the efficient use of existing infrastructure. This report examines the following questions: (1) What factors inhibit the efficient use of the existing infrastructure of roads and highways? (2) What techniques have been developed for making the current infrastructure more efficient and what is known about the results? (3) How have local decision makers implemented these techniques? (4) What strategies exist for increasing the use of such techniques? To address these questions, GAO reviewed existing studies, examined efforts in five states, and sought transportation officials' views, among other things.

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