Policy Study

California Ranks 43rd in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

California’s best rankings are overall fatality rate, structurally deficient bridges, and urban fatality rate.

California's Rankings in the
25th Annual Highway Report

CategoryRank
overall
Overall
43
total-disbursements-per-mile
Total Disbursements per Mile
40
capital-bridge-disbursements-per-mile
Capital-Bridge Disbursements per Mile
40
maintenance-disbursements-per-mile
Maintenance Disbursements per Mile
42
administrative-disbursements-per-mile
Administrative Disbursements per Mile
47
rural-interstate-percent-poor-condition
Rural Interstate Pavement Condition
41
urban-interstate-percent-poor-condition
Urban Interstate Pavement Condition
44
rural-other-principal-arterial-percent-narrow-lanes
Rural Arterial Pavement Condition
38
rural-other-principal-arterial-percent-poor-condition
Urban Arterial Pavement Condition
48
urbanized-area-congestion-peak-hours-spent-in-congestion-per-auto-commuter
Urbanized Area Congestion*
45
bridges-percent-deficient
Structurally Deficient Bridges*
24
fatality-rate-per-100-million-vehicle-miles-of-travel
Overall Fatality Rate
18
fatality-rate-per-100-million-vehicle-miles-of-travel
Rural Fatality Rate
35
fatality-rate-per-100-million-vehicle-miles-of-travel
Urban Fatality Rate
29

California's Performance In Recent Annual Highway Reports

California’s highway system ranks 43rd in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is no change from the previous report, where California also ranked 43rd overall.

In safety and performance categories, California ranks 18th in overall fatality rate, 24th in structurally deficient bridges, 45th in traffic congestion, 44th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 41st in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, California ranks 42nd in total spending per mile and 40th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, California needs to improve its pavement conditions, reduce its urban area congestion, lower its maintenance and administrative disbursements per mile, and reduce its rural fatality rate. California is in the bottom 10 of all states in six of the 13 total metrics. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds California’s overall highway performance is worse than Arizona (ranks 23rd), Nevada (ranks 27th), and Oregon (ranks 28th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “California is doing better than some comparable states such as New York (ranks 44th) but worse than others like Texas (18th).”

California’s best rankings are in overall fatality rate (18th) and structurally deficient bridges (24th).

California’s worst rankings are in urban arterial pavement condition (48th) and administrative disbursements per mile (47th).

California’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 17th 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.

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.