Policy Study

Nevada Ranks 27th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Nevada’s best rankings are in structurally deficient bridges, urban arterial pavement condition and rural Interstate pavement condition.

Nevada’s highway system ranks 27th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a seven- spot decrease from the previous report, where Nevada ranked 20th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Nevada ranks 29th in overall fatality rate, 2nd in structurally deficient bridges, 33rd in traffic congestion, 25th in urban Interstate pavement condition and 13th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Nevada ranks 34th in total spending per mile and 32nd in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Nevada needs to decrease its administrative spending per mile. Nevada is in the bottom 10 states for administrative disbursements per mile.
Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Nevada’s overall highway performance is better than California (ranks 43rd) but worse than Idaho (13th) and Oregon (12th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and assistant director of transportation at Reason Foundation. “Nevada is doing better than some comparable states such as Arizona (29th), but worse than others like Utah (ranks 9th).”

Nevada’s best rankings are in structurally deficient bridges (2nd) and urban arterial pavement condition (5th).

Nevada’s worst rankings are administrative disbursements per mile (45th) and urban fatality rate (38th).

Nevada’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 41st 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.