Policy Study

Kansas Ranks 6th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Kansas’ best rankings are in rural arterial pavement condition, rural Interstate pavement condition and urban arterial pavement condition.

Kansas’ highway system ranks 6th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a four-spot decrease from the previous report, where Kansas ranked 2nd overall.

In safety and performance categories, Kansas ranks 33rd in overall fatality rate, 25th in structurally deficient bridges, 16th in traffic congestion, 9th in urban Interstate pavement condition and 7th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Kansas ranks 19th in total spending per mile and 24th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Kansas needs to improve its rural and urban fatality rate. Kansas is in the bottom 15 of all states for both rural and urban fatality rate. Compared to nearby states, the report finds Kansas’ overall highway performance is better than Colorado (ranks 36th) and Iowa (ranks 31st), but worse than Missouri (ranks 3rd),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and assistant director of transportation at Reason Foundation. “Kansas is doing better than comparable states such as Nebraska (ranks 15th) and Oklahoma (ranks 41st).”

Kansas’ best rankings are in rural arterial pavement condition (4th) and rural Interstate pavement condition (7th).

Kansas’ worst rankings are in rural fatality rate (44th) and urban fatality rate (37th).

Kansas’ state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 27th 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.