While the idea of new road may excite some, many Oklahomans resent the intrusion of yet another Turnpike.  Questions from residents abound as Oklahoma Turnpike Authority has been unable, or unwilling, to answer some very fundamental questions about the contractors and numbers used to justify recent projects.  Has the turnpike authority contracted with a firm known for providing erroneous data?   Research into the issue suggests so. 

"Wilbur Smith Associates had predicted that traffic volumes on the Indiana Toll Road would increase at a rate of 22 percent over the first seven years. Instead, traffic volumes shrank 11 percent in the first eight. By the time the firm filed for Chapter 11, debt on the road had ballooned to $5.8 billion."

In 2012, the Reston (VA) Citizens Association completed a study 
examining traffic projections provided by engineering firm Wilbur Smith. The group collected data from 26 toll road projects on which Wilbur Smith had produced the traffic projections. During the first five years that were forecast, traffic projections overshot actual traffic every single year, and by an average of 109 percent, according to the report.

Randy Salzman, associate editor at
Thinking Highways North America, has studied these types of deals for years.  He’s never seen a case where a private consulting firm like CDM Smith underestimated toll revenues on a privately-financed highway.  “If there was honest predicting, some percentage of them would under-predict traffic,” he said. “There would be a bell curve. Instead, what we have is these projections that are always immensely above what the actual traffic is.”

There is ample incentive for these firms to inflate numbers. Firms that predict high levels of traffic attract investment dollars and regulatory approvals, which lead to construction projects, and the same firms often end up directly cashing in.

Around 2011, prominent traffic revenue and toll consulting company Wilbur Smith Associates combined with CDM Smith citing that 'The two firms have 'compatible cultures and values'.  As Oklahoma residents feared, CDM Smith is a consideration in current Oklahoma Turnpike projections and planning.  (See Item 154) Many in the path of the future turnpike loop wonder why OTA would use a company with such a dismal history of failure.  Is there some benefit to OTA if the numbers were erroneously inflated?   

When you consider that OTA will receive an influx of over $890 million from a single bond sale, the answer becomes clear.  Residents are concerned that eminent domain is being used to stabilize a dying agency, rather than building roads based on corroborated numbers.  Local residents state, "It will add insult to injury if our land is taken 'for the good of the state', only to find out the need was fabricated out of greed.  It rips at the very fabric of our rights and guarantees as U.S. Citizens."    

Please read the full article from StreetBlog USA:   The Great Traffic Projection Swindle

OTA contracts to CDM Smith:  https://www.pikepass.com/pdf/December%202015%20Authority%20Agenda.pdf     (Item 154)

https://www.pikepass.com/pdf/February%202016%20Authority%20Minutes.pdf


 


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07/03/2017 10:13pm

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07/12/2017 10:54pm

Traffic will always remain a problem in one's country if the government will not pay attention to it. In my area, traffic prolongs my transportation time from just an hour to three hours. I always get stuck in traffic for two hours and it has been that way ever since. There have already been a lot of complaints, but the government has always kept mum about it. They always say that they will fix it immediately, but many years later, they still haven't done anything. This goes to show how they do not care about solving the problem of traffic at all. They are still in denial because they feel like traffic is not a big problem but it actually is. Traffic should not take hours long. If it does, it means that there is something wrong. I sure hope so that they will fix this soon because it's such a waste of time and money!

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