Commerce

Safe winter roads protect commerce

Keeping winter roads open and clear is an investment that saves lives. But it also makes economic sense, preventing costly winter shutdowns of the routes of commerce.

A study commissioned by the American Highway Users Alliance, and carried out by renowned global consulting firm IHS Global Insight, examined the economic impact of a one-day snow-related shutdown on 16 states and two Canadian provinces.

Among the findings:

  • Snowstorms cost states examined by the study $66-700 million per day in both direct and indirect costs if roads are impassable.
  • Among all economic classes, snow-related shutdowns harm hourly workers the worst, accounting for almost two thirds of direct economic losses.
  • The negative economic impact of road closures far exceeds the cost of snow and ice removal. Although states and localities may be hesitant to expend significant upfront resources in the short-term, the long-term payoff more than justifies the expense.
Also see
  • The Roadway Safety Foundation’s Clear Winter Roads brochure.
  • Highway Users Alliance news release about study assessing economic impact of snowstorms. This includes the economic impact of road shutdowns in:
    Illinois, $400 million lost per day
    Indiana, $157 million lost per day
    Iowa, $70 million lost per day
    Kentucky, $96 million lost per day
    Maryland, $184 million lost per day
    Massachusetts, $265 million lost per day
    Michigan, $251 million lost per day
    Minnesota, $167 million lost per day
    Missouri, $162 million lost per day
    New Jersey, $289 million lost per day
    New York, $700 million lost per day
    Ohio, $300 million lost per day
    Pennsylvania, $370 million lost
    Utah, $66 million lost per day
    Virginia, $260 million lost per day
    Wisconsin, $149 million lost per day
    Ontario, $474 million lost per day
    Quebec, $250 million lost per dayIt does not take much to see that each snow event can end up negatively affecting the economy by billions of dollars.
  • Nine-page report (pdf) on IHS Global Insight Study, commissioned by American Highway Users Alliance, on “Economic Costs of Disruption from a Snowstorm.”