Policy Study

Louisiana Ranks 34th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Louisiana’s best rankings are in administrative disbursements per mile, rural fatality rate and total disbursements per mile.

Louisiana’s highway system ranks 34th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a three- spot increase from the previous report, where Louisiana ranked 37th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Louisiana ranks 46th in overall fatality rate, 44th in structurally deficient bridges, 29th in traffic congestion, 49th in urban Interstate pavement condition and 39th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Louisiana ranks 17th in total spending per mile and 21st in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Louisiana needs to improve its urban Interstate pavement condition and reduce its structurally deficient bridges, overall fatality rate and urban fatality rate. The state is in the bottom 10 for its urban Interstate pavement condition, structurally deficient bridges, overall fatality rate and urban fatality rate. Compared to nearby states, the report finds Louisiana’s overall highway performance is better than Oklahoma (ranks 41st) but worse than Alabama (ranks 10th) and Texas (ranks 23rd),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and assistant director of transportation at Reason Foundation. “Louisiana is doing worse than comparable states such as Arkansas (ranks 32nd) and Mississippi (ranks 25th).

Louisiana’s best rankings are in administrative disbursements per mile (6th) and rural fatality rate (16th).

Louisiana’s worst rankings are in urban Interstate pavement condition (49th) and overall fatality rate (46th).

Louisiana’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 12th 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.