Policy Study

Minnesota Ranks 22nd in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Minnesota’s best rankings are in overall fatality rate, urban fatality rate and rural fatality rate.

Minnesota’s highway system ranks 22nd 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 Minnesota ranked 25th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Minnesota ranks 3rd in overall fatality rate, 11th in structurally deficient bridges, 41st in traffic congestion, 40th in urban Interstate pavement condition and 35th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Minnesota ranks 25th in total spending per mile and 31st in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Minnesota needs to reduce its traffic congestion and improve its urban Interstate pavement condition. Minnesota is in the bottom 10 for traffic congestion, and the bottom 15 for urban Interstate pavement condition. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Minnesota’s overall highway performance is better than Iowa (ranks 31st) but worse than North Dakota (1st) and South Dakota (14th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and assistant director of transportation at Reason Foundation. “Minnesota is doing better than comparable states such as Michigan (ranks 30th) and Wisconsin (ranks 38th).”

Minnesota’s best rankings are in its overall fatality rate (3rd) and its urban fatality rate (4th).

Minnesota’s worst rankings are in its traffic congestion (41st) and urban Interstate pavement condition (40th).

Minnesota’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 18th 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.