If you drive a vehicle or ride in one consistently in this area it should come as no surprise that a new report claims the Oklahoma City area has some of the worst roads in the country among larger cities and that its drivers pay more in car repairs because of it.
A new report by TRIP, an organization that focuses on road surface transportation issues, claims the Oklahoma City area ranks fourth worst in the nation among larger cities for annual car repairs at an average of $782 per vehicle because of poor roads. Overall, the report ranks the Oklahoma City area tenth worst in the nation among cities its size when it comes to roads “with pavements that are in poor condition and provide a rough ride.”
Here’s the report, which makes this overall claim:
Driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation, increasing the frequency of needed maintenance and requiring additional fuel consumption.
Again, the fact a report claims the Oklahoma City area has some bad roads is no real surprise, and the solution is fairly easy: Build better roads and maintain them more thoroughly. But that probably simplifies a local problem that has extremely specific causes. Here are just three of those causes:
(1) Urban sprawl in the Oklahoma City area has to make it more expensive and difficult to maintain roads here. Oklahoma City has the third largest land area in the nation among cities at 621 square miles. That means the city has to maintain a lot of roads.
(2) The city doesn’t have an efficient public transportation system, along the lines of New York or Chicago or San Francisco or even Dallas, which would reduce road traffic and road repairs. Some of that, of course, is linked to urban sprawl and sheer costs, but a good portion of it is political. The Oklahoma City area needs light rail and transportation hubs. There IS a way to do it, but it will take money and a shift in attitude about public transportation.
(3) Oklahoma City continues to invest a lot of money in its entertainment district, and that has improved the quality of life here, but has that focus in recent years led to the neglect of the city’s basic, lingering problems, such as its bad roads? Maintaining roads isn’t as exciting as some other projects, but it’s vitally important.
All these negative reports about Oklahoma City or Oklahoma, in general, can give anyone here a numbing case of reportitis and each one needs to be considered on its own merits. The overall takeaway is that Oklahoma City and its surrounding suburbs need to do better when it comes to basic road maintenance, which could make a major impact on the quality of life here. But the underlying causes need attention as well.