Environmental Protection

Road Conditions Show Improvement and Higher Level of Efficiency Across the Nation

According to a new highway report, roads across the U.S are smoother and less congested this year, along with fewer deficient bridges.

The Reason Foundation's Annual Highway Report measures the condition and cost-effectiveness of state-owned roads in 11 categories, including pavement condition on urban and rural Interstates, urban traffic congestion, deficient bridges, unsafe narrow lanes, traffic fatalities, total spending per mile of state roads and administrative costs per mile. The study's rankings are based on data that states reported to the federal government for 2009, the most recent year with full spending statistics available. 

Nationwide there was small progress in every category except for pavement condition on rural arterial roads. These improvements were achieved at a time when per-mile expenditures dropped slightly.

"It's hard to believe it when you hit a pothole or see a bridge in Washington collapse, but the nation's roads are getting better," said David Hartgen, author of the study and emeritus transportation professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "There are still several states struggling and plenty of problem areas. But you make the case that overall America's roads and bridges have never been in better shape." 

The 10 states that ranked the highest for overall performance and cost efficiency are:

1. North Dakota 
2. Kansas 
3. Wyoming 
4. New Mexico 
5. Montana 
6. Nebraska 
7. South Carolina 
8. Missouri 
9. South Dakota 
10. Mississippi 

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