Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) is an initiative to address disparities in rural transportation infrastructure. Specifically, rural transportation infrastructure’s unique challenges need to be considered in order to meet our Nation’s priority transportation goals of safety and economic competitiveness.
The ROUTES Initiative is needed for the Nation's economy.
- Rural transportation networks are critically important for domestic production and export of agriculture, mining, and energy commodities, as well as the quality of life for all Americans.
- Two-thirds of rail freight originates in rural areas, and nearly half of all truck vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) occur on rural roads. These industries require heavy trucks that create significantly more wear-and-tear on roadways.
- Ninety percent of posted (limited weight) bridges are in rural areas and heavy trucks cannot cross posted bridges – to find a safe bridge, heavy trucks hauling in rural areas must traverse three-times the distance as in metro areas.
The ROUTES Initiative is needed for safety.
- A disproportionate number of roadway fatalities occur in rural areas. While only one-fifth of the nation’s population lives in rural areas, 46% of the nation’s highway fatalities occur on rural roads, 39% of all highway-rail crossing fatalities occur in rural areas, and the highway fatality rate is more than twice that in urban areas.
- In fact, 44% of personal vehicle miles traveled on rural roadways are actually urban residents traveling to destinations outside their home metro areas, so rural roadway safety matters for our entire country.
The ROUTES Council will be chaired by the Under Secretary for Transportation, which will oversee the ROUTES Infrastructure Management Team in three primary activities:
- Collecting input from stakeholders on the benefits rural projects offer for safety and economic benefits, as well as the type and degree of assistance rural projects require
- Providing user-friendly information to rural communities to assist them in understanding and applying for DOT discretionary grants
- Improving DOT’s data-driven approaches to better assess needs and benefits of rural transportation infrastructure projects.
The ROUTES Initiative will be coordinated across key modal administrations, including the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Federal Rail Administration (FRA), and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2019