Policy Study

Idaho Ranks 13th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Idaho’s best rankings are capital and bridge disbursements per mile, urbanized area congestion and administrative disbursements per mile.

Idaho’s highway system ranks 13th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This a six-spot decrease from the previous report, where Idaho ranked 7th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Idaho ranks 41st in overall fatality rate, 28th in structurally deficient bridges, 11th in traffic congestion, 14th in urban Interstate pavement condition and 26th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Idaho ranks 23rd in total spending per mile and 11th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Idaho needs to improve its overall and rural fatality rate. Idaho is in the bottom 10 for both its overall and rural fatality rate. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Idaho’s overall highway performance is better than Washington (ranks 37th) but worse than Oregon (ranks 12th) and Utah (ranks 9th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and assistant director of transportation at Reason Foundation. “Idaho is doing worse than comparable states such as Montana (ranks 8th) and Wyoming (ranks 11th).”

Idaho’s best rankings are in capital and bridge disbursements per mile (11th), and urbanized area congestion (11th).

Idaho’s worst rankings are in overall fatality rate (41st) and rural fatality rate (41st).

Idaho’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 43rd largest highway system in the country.

Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report measures the condition and cost-effectiveness of state-controlled highways in 13 categories, including pavement condition, traffic

congestion, structurally deficient bridges, traffic fatalities, and spending (capital, maintenance, administrative, overall) per mile.

The Annual Highway Report is based on spending and performance data submitted by state highway agencies to the federal government for 2016 as well as urban congestion data from INRIX and bridge condition data from the Better Roads inventory for 2017. For more details on the calculation of each of the 13 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 structurally deficient bridges has the smallest percentage of structurally deficient bridges, not the smallest number of structurally deficient bridges.