Policy Study

New York Ranks 45th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

New York’s best rankings are in overall fatality rate, urban fatality rate and rural arterial pavement condition.

New York’s highway system ranks 45th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. There is no change from the previous report, where New York ranked 45th overall.

In safety and performance categories, New York ranks 5th in overall fatality rate, 37th in structurally deficient bridges, 49th in traffic congestion, 46th in urban Interstate pavement condition and 41st in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, New York ranks 47th in total spending per mile and 48th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, New York needs to reduce its traffic congestion, reduce its disbursements per mile and improve its Interstate pavement conditions. New York is in the bottom 10 in all four disbursement categories, traffic congestion, and both Interstate pavement metrics. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds New York’s overall highway performance is better than New Jersey (ranks 50th), but worse than Connecticut (ranks 44th) and Vermont (ranks 19th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and assistant director of transportation at Reason Foundation. “New York is doing worse than comparable states such as Illinois (ranks 28th) and Pennsylvania (ranks 35th).”

New York’s best rankings are in overall fatality rate (5th) and urban fatality rate (5th).

New York’s worst rankings are urban area congestion (49th) and capital and bridge disbursements per mile (48th).

New York’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 13th 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.