Policy Study

Wyoming Ranks 11th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Wyoming’s best rankings are traffic congestion, overall disbursements and rural arterial pavement condition.

Wyoming’s highway system ranks 11th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a three- spot decrease from the previous report, where Wyoming ranked 8th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Wyoming ranks 26th in overall fatality rate, 33rd in structurally deficient bridges, 1st in traffic congestion, 34th in urban Interstate pavement condition and 24th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Wyoming ranks 8th in total spending per mile and 9th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Wyoming needs to reduce its urban fatality rate. The state ranks in the bottom 15 of all states in urban fatality rate. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Wyoming’s overall highway performance is better than Colorado (ranks 36th) and Nebraska (ranks 15th) but worse than Utah (ranks 9th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and assistant director of transportation at Reason Foundation. “Wyoming is similar to comparable states like Idaho (ranks 13th) and Montana (ranks 8th).”

Wyoming’s best rankings are in traffic congestion (1st) and total disbursements (8th).

Wyoming’s worst rankings are in urban fatality rate (39th) and urban Interstate pavement condition (34th).

Wyoming’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 38th 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.