Friday, August 29, 2008

State’s Commuter Lot Use Up 21 Percent

High Gas Prices Push Carpooling Up
JEFFERSON CITY - Commuter parking lots are more popular than ever along Missouri highways, according to the latest figures from the Missouri Department of Transportation. Nearly 3,000 vehicles used a state-maintained commuter lot on a typical workday this May -- up 21 percent from February.

"We've seen dramatic growth in commuter lot use this year," said MoDOT Maintenance Liaison Engineer Tim Chojnacki. There's no doubt that high gas prices are encouraging more and more people to park and ride."

MoDOT maintains 106 commuter lots statewide, located at access points along major highways. The latest results show 2,960 vehicles using those lots on a typical summer workday, compared to 2,438 in the spring.

"We're pleased that more drivers are carpooling to work," Chojnacki said. "It helps the environment, helps fight traffic congestion, and certainly helps your pocketbook.

"But there are more than 6,000 total parking spaces available statewide on our commuter lots, so I hope to see usage keep growing," he added.

Visit for complete details on commuter lot locations and parking capacity, as well as other state and local carpooling information.

Editor's note: Here's a direct link to MoDOT's commuter lot information:

Friday, August 15, 2008

MO Lives Saved on Missouri Roads

JEFFERSON CITY -- Over the last two years, Missouri has seen a 21 percent decrease in traffic deaths – the second-largest percentage decrease in the nation. South Dakota had the largest percentage decrease at 21.5 percent.

Missouri’s traffic deaths decreased from 1,257 in 2005, to1,096 in 2006 and finally to 992 in 2007. Currently, Missouri traffic deaths year-to-date for 2008 have declined by seven percent.

A large part of the reduction is attributed to the state and regional efforts of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. The coalition is a large group of safety advocates who banded together in 2004 to create Missouri’s Blueprint for Safer Roadways to attack the problem of traffic crashes and deaths. Strategies include increased law enforcement activity, engineering improvements and educational programs.

Within the Blueprint, Missouri’s fatality reduction goal was set at “1,000 or fewer fatalities by 2008.” The coalition met that goal one year early.

“The power of partnerships and a single vision have proven effective. Law enforcement, engineering and education – all of these factors are working together to save lives, and we’re thrilled to see the results,” said Leanna Depue, chair of the coalition’s executive committee.

Nationally, the number of people who died on the nation’s roads reached historically low levels in 2007, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last year, the overall number of traffic fatalities in the nation fell to 41,059 – a 3.9 percent decline from 2006, and the lowest number of traffic deaths since 1994.

“When more people take the time to buckle up, pay attention and drive sober, more motorists in Missouri will Arrive Alive,” said Depue.

The coalition continues to work toward the passage of a primary safety belt law in Missouri, which would save an additional 90 lives and prevent more than 1,000 serious injuries each year.

For more information, visit

Monday, August 11, 2008

Missouri Highways Climb In National Rankings

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri is among the nation's leaders in maintaining its transportation system and getting good value, according to a report issued recently by the Reason Foundation, which measures every state's road conditions and expenses.

Missouri jumped to a national rank of 13th in 2006, compared to a rank of 17th in 2005 and 28th in 2004.

"We've made a lot of progress making Missouri roads smoother and safer in just a few short years," said Missouri Department of Transportation Director Pete Rahn. "These new statistics are just beginning to reflect how the early completion of our Smooth Roads Initiative in 2006 and the Better Roads, Brighter Future plan now under way are making a big difference in the quality and safety of our transportation system. As a result, 78 percent of our roads are now in good condition."

The Reason Foundation's 17th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems analyzes the effectiveness and performance of each state in 12 categories, including traffic fatalities, congestion, pavement condition, bridge condition, highway maintenance costs and administrative costs.

Missouri tied with several other states for first in rural interstate condition, with all the state's 799 miles in good condition. "These highways are some of the most heavily traveled in

the state, and bringing them up to good condition was a top priority for us," Rahn said.

MoDOT is among the most efficient in managing a state highway system, ranking 4th in administrative costs per mile. "We're committed to putting dollars into transportation improvements, rather than overhead costs," Rahn said. "We've whittled our administrative costs down to about 3 percent of our budget."

Improvement areas remain, however. The state ranked 40th in deficient bridges with 30.5 percent deficient. And Missouri ranked 33rd nationally for its fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

"Bridges remain a top concern not only in Missouri, but also across the nation," Rahn said. "Through the Safe & Sound Program, we will improve 800 deficient bridges in five years. Once finalized, this program will quickly improve the condition of many of our smaller bridges."

Rahn also noted that Missouri is also making progress toward decreasing highway fatalities. In 2006, Missouri led the nation in lives saved with 161 fewer fatalities. In 2007, the state experienced 118 fewer highway deaths and the number of fatalities for the year fell below 1,000 for the first time in 15 years.

Improvements in Missouri roads were also highlighted in March, when the Pew Center on the States gave Missouri a B+ for its infrastructure performance and touted its transportation-planning processes as a national model. That score was better than all but four other states and the 50-state average grade of a B-.

The Reason Foundation's full report is available at

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Missouri Cracks Down on Impaired Drivers

JEFFERSON CITY – On August 8, 2008, a lineup of .08 presents the opportunity to send a strong message to impaired drivers: You Drink & Drive. You Lose.

The statewide campaign aimed at stopping motorists from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety and kicks off Aug. 8. Advertising and enforcement begins the following week and continues through Labor Day.

“It is important that we inform Missourians about the dangers of alcohol abuse and drunk driving,” Gov. Matt Blunt said. “In Missouri if someone chooses to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, they are not only putting others at risk, they are choosing to face very serious consequences that could impact their driving privileges.”

Television ads reinforce the consequences of impaired driving by using a play on words, beginning with scenes of a beer mug and shot glass and ending with an impaired driver’s police station mug shot.

“DWI enforcement is a priority with the Missouri State Highway Patrol 365 days a year,” said Colonel James F. Keathley, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. “If you are stopped and found to be intoxicated, you will be arrested.”

Blunt added he has been instrumental in cracking down on impaired driving.

“As governor I have signed into law tough new penalties for drinking and driving including ignition interlocks for repeat drunk driving offenders.”
Is it worth it?

Consider these statistics:

· During 2007 in Missouri 243 people died in more than 7,700 alcohol-related crashes.
· Last year in Missouri someone was killed or injured every 1.7 hours in an alcohol-related crash.

Alcohol-related traffic crashes over the last five years:

Total Number of Alcohol-related Crashes






For more information visit