The nation’s top-performing, most cost-effective highways can be found in North Dakota, Kansas, South Dakota, Nebraska, and South Carolina, according to a new study.
The 23rd edition of the Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report, released on Thursday, 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.
According to the Reason Foundation, the significant differences between state highway systems were illustrated by the huge disparity in spending per mile. 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 — reportedly 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 Reason Foundation’s 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. Detailed information about each state’s results, as well as each of the categories, is available here.
State Highways: Overall Performance and Cost-Effectiveness Rankings
1. North Dakota
3. South Dakota
5. South Carolina
14. North Carolina
24. New Mexico
30. New Hampshire
36. West Virginia
45. New York
49. Rhode Island
50. New Jersey