Source: Reason Foundation, 2008
The Reason Foundation’s 17th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems measures the performance of all state-owned roads and highways from 1984 to 2006. The study calculates the effectiveness and performance of each state in 12 different categories, including traffic fatalities, congestion, pavement condition, bridge condition, highway maintenance costs, and administrative costs.
North Dakota’s state-owned highway system is the nation’s most cost-effective, an honor the state has held since 2001. North Dakota finished first, or tied for first, in five of the report’s 12 categories, including rural interstate condition. Montana jumped from 5th to 2nd in the overall performance and cost-effectiveness rankings. New Mexico continues to show marked improvement. The state ranked 27th in 2000, and was up to 3rd overall in 2006. Wyoming moves up from 7th in 2005 to 4th overall. Kansas rounds out the top five.
New Jersey, which has ranked last every year since 2000, continues to be the nation’s least cost-effective and worst-performing road system. Despite having the nation’s 4th smallest state-owned highway system, New Jersey finished dead last in five of the study’s 12 categories. Several of the least populous states performed very poorly, and make up the rest of the bottom five: Alaska (49th), Rhode Island (48th), Hawaii (47th), and New Hampshire (46th).
Texas, home to the nation’s largest state-controlled highway system, ranked 12th overall in performance and cost-effectiveness. South Carolina, owner of the country’s 5th largest system, ranks 6th overall. Georgia, Ohio, Missouri and Virginia are some of the other top-performing large states.
As traffic jams in large cities escalate and spread to smaller areas, 35 states are now reporting that at least 40 percent of their urban interstate highways are congested, up from 31 states the previous year, according to an annual study of the nation’s highways. With urban congestion even hitting South Dakota, the list of states without any clogged interstates is down to just three: Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
■ Overall Rankings: State-by-State Comparison of This Year and Last Year
■ Urban Congestion Rankings
■ Deficient Bridges Rankings
■ Traffic Fatalities Rankings
■ Google Map with State-by-State Data
■ Full Tables (Excel)