Policy Study

Missouri Ranks 3rd in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Missouri’s best rankings are in capital and bridge disbursements per mile, total disbursements per mile and administrative disbursements per mile.

Missouri’s highway system ranks 3rd in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a six-spot improvement from the previous report, where Missouri ranked 9th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Missouri ranks 32nd in overall fatality rate, 40th in structurally deficient bridges, 24th in traffic congestion, 17th in urban Interstate pavement condition and 17th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Missouri ranks 3rd in total spending per mile and 2nd in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Missouri needs to reduce its percentage of structurally deficient bridges. The state is in the bottom 15 for structurally deficient bridges. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Missouri’s overall highway performance is better than Arkansas (ranks 32nd), Illinois (ranks 28th) and Iowa (ranks 31st),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and assistant director of transportation at Reason Foundation. “Missouri is doing better than comparable states such as Kansas (ranks 6th) and Minnesota (ranks 22nd).”

Missouri’s best rankings are in capital and bridge disbursements per mile (2nd) and total disbursements per mile (3rd).

Missouri’s worst rankings are in structurally deficient bridges (40th) and urban fatality rate (33rd)

Missouri’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 7th 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.