Report ranks the nation’s best, worst, safest, and most expensive state highway systems

Feb. 14, 2018
Report ranks the nation’s best, worst, safest, and most expensive state highway systems

The nation’s top-performing, most cost-effective highways can be found in North Dakota, Kansas, South Dakota, Nebraska, and South Carolina, according to the latest edition of the Reason Foundation Annual Highway Report.

Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report ranks the performance of state highway systems in 11 categories, including pavement condition, deficient bridges, traffic congestion, fatality rates, spending per mile of state-controlled highway, and system administrative costs.

The significant differences between state highway systems was illustrated by the huge disparity in the spending per mile figures. West Virginia spent the least--$35,047 per mile of state-controlled highway, while New Jersey spent the most--$2,069,020 per mile of state-controlled highway.

Overall, New Jersey ranked last, 50th, in the nation in performance and cost-effectiveness due, in part, to having the nation’s worst urban traffic congestion while also spending the most money per mile. Rhode Island, Alaska, Hawaii, and Connecticut joined New Jersey in the bottom five of the overall rankings.

In some of the individual categories, Massachusetts’ highways had the country’s lowest fatality rate, while South Carolina’s had the highest. Wyoming’s highways had the least traffic congestion, whereas drivers in New Jersey and California experienced the worst traffic jams. Alaska had the bumpiest urban Interstate pavement condition, and Delaware had the smoothest.

This edition of the Annual Highway Report is based on spending and performance data that state highway agencies submitted to the federal government for the year 2015, the most recent year with complete data available. The overall cost-effectiveness rankings are below. You can find detailed information about each state’s results, as well as each of categories here:

State Ranking:

1) North Dakota

2) Kansas

3) South Dakota

4) Nebraska

5) South Carolina

6) Montana

7) Idaho

8) Wyoming

9) Missouri

10) Utah

11) Mississippi

12) Tennessee

13) Kentucky

14) North Carolina

15) Iowa

16) Arizona

17) Alabama

18) Georgia

19) Delaware

20) Nevada

21) Oregon

22) Texas

23) Maine

24) New Mexico

25) Minnesota

26) Ohio

27) Virginia

28) Illinois

29) Arkansas

30) New Hampshire

31) Colorado

32) Michigan

33) Oklahoma

34) Indiana

35) Florida

36) West Virginia

37) Louisiana

38) Wisconsin

39) Vermont

40) Maryland

41) Pennsylvania

42) California

43) Washington

44) Massachusetts

45) New York

46) Connecticut

47) Hawaii

48) Alaska

49) Rhode Island

50) New Jersey