Policy Study

Alabama Ranks 19th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Alabama’s best rankings are urban arterial pavement condition, maintenance disbursements per mile, and structurally deficient bridges.

Alabama’s highway system ranks 19th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a nine-spot decline from the previous report, where Alabama ranked 10th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Alabama ranks 37th in overall fatality rate, 9th in structurally deficient bridges, 19th in traffic congestion, 36th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 24th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Alabama ranks 18th in total spending per mile and 32nd in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Alabama needs to reduce its fatality rate. Alabama is in the bottom half of all states in each of the fatality rankings. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Alabama’s overall highway performance is better than Georgia (ranks 26th), but worse than Tennessee (ranks 7th) and Mississippi (ranks 8th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Alabama is doing better than some comparable states like Louisiana (ranks 31th), but worse than others such as South Carolina (ranks 6th).”

Alabama’s best rankings are urban arterial pavement condition (3rd) and maintenance disbursements per mile (4th).

Alabama’s worst rankings are in overall fatality rate (37th) and urban Interstate pavement condition (36th).

Alabama’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 27th 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 2018 as well as urban congestion data from INRIX and bridge condition data from the Better Roads inventory for 2019.