The study, a joint venture of WSP USA and Cambridge Systematics, conducted case study analysis and modeling to explore the impact of changing travel and technology trends, and their implications for the future of the Interstate Highway system.
WSP’s Jagannath Mallela served as a consultant for the Committee for a Study of the Future Interstate Highway System, working with Susan Binder and Richard Margiotta of Cambridge Systematics to conduct the case studies and modeling, as well as collecting information for the study with the committee’s guidance.
The final report, Renewing the National Commitment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future, was prepared as a component to support the objectives outlined in the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2015 (FAST Act).
The FAST Act called for the National Academies’ Transportation Research Board (TRB) to conduct “a study on the actions needed to upgrade and restore the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways to its role as a premier system that meets the growing and shifting demands of the 21st century.”
Although the interstate highway system comprises only 1.2 percent of the total U.S. public road system, it handles nearly 25 percent of the total vehicle miles traveled annually and almost 40 percent of the nation's total truck traffic.
“The Interstate Highway System’s future is threatened by a persistent and growing backlog of physical and operational deficiencies and by a number of large and looming challenges,” according to the study. “Most of its segments are decades old, subject to much heavier traffic than anticipated, and operating well beyond their design life without having undergone major upgrades or reconstruction.”
With a network that has changed little since its inception, the aging Interstate Highway System alone serves more traffic than the entire U.S. road network served when the system was authorized in 1956.