Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES)
The ROUTES Initiative is established to...
- Engage Rural Communities through a series of events to better understand their transportation needs and priorities, and to collect essential data from stakeholders representing different communities, groups, workers, and industries to identify necessary transportation solutions.
- Harmonize DOT Programs to implement rural policy by re-constituting the ROUTES Council to lead and coordinate Departmental activities to implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and better align new and existing funding, financing, and technical assistance programs with the needs of rural and Tribal communities.
- Utilize a Whole-of-Government Approach by partnering with other rural-focused federal agencies and regional commissions to expand DOT’s presence in rural America, better promote DOT’s resources to their customers, and capitalize on synergies between federal funding programs.
The Rural Transportation Network is Critical for Our 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.
Sources: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Office of Highway Information Management, Highway Statistics 2020, Table HM-60; United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 5-Year Estimates, 2020. Notes: For ACS population estimates, urban = Census urbanized area, 2010, rural otherwise; for FHWA Highway Statistics, urban = FHWA adjusted urbanized areas, 2010, rural otherwise; all statistics include Puerto Rico but do not include the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands
While only 19% of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, 45% of all roadway fatalities and 34% of all public highway-rail grade crossing fatalities occur on rural roads, and the fatality rate on rural roads is 2 times higher than on urban roads.
Sources: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Office of Highway Information Management, Highway Statistics 2020, Table VM-1; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 2020. Notes: Urban = FHWA adjusted urbanized areas, 2010, rural otherwise; all statistics include Puerto Rico but do not include US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands