Policy Study

Michigan Ranks 30th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Michigan’s best rankings are in rural fatality rate, rural arterial pavement condition and administrative disbursements per mile.

Michigan’s highway system ranks 30th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a two-spot increase from the previous report, where Michigan ranked 32nd overall.

In safety and performance categories, Michigan ranks 19th in overall fatality rate, 35th in structurally deficient bridges, 34th in traffic congestion, 42nd in urban Interstate pavement condition and 34th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Michigan ranks 38th in total spending per mile and 27th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Michigan needs to improve its urban Interstate pavement condition and urban arterial pavement condition. Michigan is in the bottom 10 for its urban Interstate pavement condition and urban arterial pavement condition. Compared to nearby states, the report finds Michigan’s overall highway performance is better than Indiana (ranks 33rd), Pennsylvania (ranks 35th) and Wisconsin (ranks 38th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and assistant director of transportation at Reason Foundation. “Michigan is doing worse than comparable states such as Ohio (ranks 18th) and Illinois (ranks 28th).”

Michigan’s best rankings are in its rural fatality rate (7th) and overall fatality rate (19th).

Michigan’s worst rankings are in urban Interstate pavement condition (42nd) and in urban arterial pavement condition (41st).

Michigan’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 30th largest highway system in the country.

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.