Ranking the Best, Worst, Safest, and Most Expensive State Highway Systems — The 23rd Annual Highway Report
Ranking each state's highway system in 11 categories, including highway spending, pavement and bridge conditions, traffic congestion, and fatality rates.
by M. Gregory Fields, Baruch Feigenbaum and Spence Purnell, Reason Foundation, February 8, 2018
Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report ranks the performance of state highway systems in 11 categories, including spending per mile, pavement conditions, deficient bridges, traffic congestion, and fatality rates.
North Dakota was the top-ranked state on performance and cost-effectiveness thanks to excellent scores on urban Interstate pavement condition (3rd overall), rural Interstate pavement condition (4th), urbanized area traffic congestion (4th), and maintenance disbursements per mile (3rd). Kansas, South Dakota, Nebraska and South Carolina were the other states in top five of the overall rankings.
New Jersey ranked last, 50th, in overall performance and cost-effectiveness due to having the worst urban traffic congestion and spending the most per mile — $2 million per mile of state-controlled highway, more than double what Florida, the next highest state, spent per mile. Rhode Island, Alaska, Hawaii and Connecticut were also in the bottom five of the overall rankings.
This edition of the study 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.
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Complete State-by-State Summaries PDF
Hawaii ranks 47th in the nation in highway performance and cost-effectiveness in the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation.
Hawaii ranks 12th in fatality rate, 49th in deficient bridges, 50th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 20th in urbanized area congestion.
On spending, Hawaii ranks 45th in total disbursements per mile and 33rd in administrative disbursements per mile.
Hawaii’s best rankings are fatality rate (12th), urbanized area congestion (20th) and administrative disbursements per mile (33rd).
Hawaii’s worst rankings are urban Interstate pavement condition (50th) and deficient bridges (49th).
Hawaii’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the smallest system.
Hawaii’s Complete Results Ranking
Overall Rank in 2015: 47
Overall Rank in 2013: 48
Overall Rank in 2012: 50
Performance by Category in 2015 Ranking
Total Disbursements per Mile 45
Capital-Bridge Disbursements per Mile 48
Maintenance Disbursements per Mile 41
Administrative Disbursements per Mile 33
Rural Interstate Percent Poor Condition NA**
Rural Other Principal Arterial Percent Poor Condition 46
Rural Other Principal Arterial Percent Narrow Lanes 40
Urban Interstate Percent Poor Condition 50
Urbanized Area Congestion, Peak Hours Spent In 20
Congestion per Auto Commuter*
Bridges Percent Deficient 49
Fatality Rate per 100 Million Vehicle-Miles of Travel 12
* 2016 data
**Hawaii has no rural Interstate mileage for 2015
The Annual Highway Report is based on spending and performance data submitted by state highway agencies to the federal government for 2015. For more details on the calculation of each of the 11 performance measures used in the report, as well as the overall performance measure, please refer to the appendix in the main report. The report’s dataset includes Interstate, federal and state roads but not county or local roads. All rankings are based on performance measures that are ratios rather than absolute values: the financial measures are disbursements per mile, the fatality rate is fatalities per 100 million vehicle-miles of travel, the urban congestion measure is the annual delay per auto commuter, and the others are percentages. For example, the state ranking 1st in deficient bridges has the smallest percentage of deficient bridges, not the smallest number of deficient bridges.
SA: Hawaii’s highways rank near bottom in annual report