Policy Study

Oregon Ranks 12th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

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

Oregon’s highway system ranks 12th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a nine- spot increase from the previous report, where Oregon ranked 21st overall.

In safety and performance categories, Oregon ranks 34th in overall fatality rate, 12th in structurally deficient bridges, 17th in traffic congestion, 23rd in urban Interstate pavement condition and 15th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Oregon ranks 21st in total spending per mile and 13th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Oregon needs to reduce its rural fatality rate. Oregon is in the bottom 10 of all states for rural fatality rate. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Oregon’s overall highway performance is better than California (ranks 43rd), Idaho (ranks 13th), and Nevada (ranks 27th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and assistant director of transportation at Reason Foundation. “Oregon is doing better than some comparable states such as Washington (ranks 37th) but worse than other comparable states such as Utah (ranks 9th).”

Oregon’s best rankings are in rural arterial pavement condition (9th) and structurally deficient bridges (12th).

Oregon’s worst rankings are rural fatality rate (42nd) and overall fatality rate (34th).

Oregon’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 33rd 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.