Policy Study

Oklahoma Ranks 41st in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Oklahoma’s best rankings are in urban area congestion, rural fatality rate and capital and bridge disbursements per mile.

Oklahoma’s highway system ranks 41st in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is an eight- spot decrease from the previous report, where Oklahoma ranked 33rd overall.

In safety and performance categories, Oklahoma ranks 38th in overall fatality rate, 42nd in structurally deficient bridges, 15th in traffic congestion, 41st in urban Interstate pavement condition and 36th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Oklahoma ranks 37th in total spending per mile and 33th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Oklahoma needs to reduce its maintenance costs, reduce its percentage of structurally deficient bridges, improve its urban Interstate pavement condition and reduce its urban fatality rate. Oklahoma is in the bottom 10 for maintenance disbursements per mile, structurally deficient bridges, urban Interstate pavement condition and urban fatality rate. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Oklahoma’s overall highway performance is worse than Colorado (ranks 36th), Missouri (ranks 3rd) and Texas (ranks 23rd),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and assistant director of transportation at Reason Foundation. “Oklahoma is doing worse than comparable states such as Arkansas (32nd) and Kansas (ranks 6th).”

Oklahoma’s best rankings are in urban area congestion (15th) and rural fatality rate (26th).

Oklahoma’s worst rankings are maintenance disbursements per mile (46th) and structurally deficient bridges (42nd).

Oklahoma’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 19th 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.