Policy Study

Arkansas Ranks 9th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Arkansas’ best rankings are administrative disbursements per mile, maintenance disbursements per mile, and total disbursements per mile.

Arkansas’ highway system ranks 9th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a 23-spot improvement from the previous report, where Arkansas ranked 32nd overall, as the state improved in most categories, most notably in the urban Interstate, urban arterial, and rural arterial pavement condition.

In safety and performance categories, Arkansas ranks 39th in overall fatality rate, 11th in structurally deficient bridges, 19th in traffic congestion, 34th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 35th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Arkansas ranks 9th in total spending per mile and 25th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Arkansas needs to reduce its fatality rate and improve its pavement conditions. Arkansas is in the bottom 15 states for all three fatality categories and in the bottom half in three of the four pavement categories. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Arkansas’ overall highway performance is better than Oklahoma (ranks 33rd), but worse than Mississippi (ranks 8th) and Tennessee (ranks 7th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Arkansas is doing better than comparable states like Louisiana (ranks 31st), but worse than others like Missouri (ranks 2nd).”

Arkansas’ best rankings are in administrative disbursements (2nd) and maintenance disbursements (6th).

Arkansas’ worst rankings are in urban fatality rate (46th) and rural fatality rate (40th).

Arkansas’ state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 8th 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.