Report finds general quality, safety of U.S. highways has improved

Study ranks state highway systems on conditions and cost-effectiveness

November 20, 2020 / 2 minute read
state highway systems

Reason Foundation’s 25th Annual Highway Report finds North Dakota, Missouri, and Kansas have the nation’s best state-owned road systems in the report's overall rankings of state highway performance and cost-effectiveness.

In terms of return on investment, New Jersey, Alaska, Delaware, and Massachusetts have the worst-performing state highway systems, the study finds. 

Of the nation’s most populous states, Ohio (ranked 13th overall), North Carolina (14th)—which manages the largest state-owned highway system, and Texas (18th)—with the second largest amount of state mileage, are doing the best job of combining road performance and cost-effectiveness. In contrast, New York (ranked 44th overall), California (43rd) and Florida (40th) are in the bottom 10 overall.

The 25th Annual Highway Report finds the general quality and safety of the nation’s highways has incrementally improved as spending on state-owned roads increased by 9%, up to $151.8 billion, since the previous report. Of the Annual Highway Report’s nine categories focused on performance, including structurally deficient bridges, traffic congestion, and fatalities, the country made incremental progress in seven of them. 

However, the pavement condition of the nation’s urban interstate system worsened slightly. Over a quarter of the country’s urban interstate mileage in poor condition is in just three states: California, New York, and Wyoming.

The condition of the nation’s bridges improved slightly in 2019, according to the report. Of the 613,517 highway bridges reported, 46,771 (7.6%) were rated deficient. The best rankings go to three states where less than 2% of their bridges are structurally deficient: Texas, Nevada, and Arizona. Meanwhile, Rhode Island reported a whopping 23 percent of its bridges as structurally deficient.

More information on the study and the full report can be found on the Reason Foundation's website.

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SOURCE: Reason Foundation

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