Policy Study

Colorado Ranks 38th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Colorado’s best rankings are rural arterial pavement condition, structurally deficient bridges, and total disbursements per mile.

Colorado’s highway system ranks 38th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a two-spot decline from the previous report, where Colorado ranked 36th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Colorado ranks 29th in overall fatality rate, 18th in structurally deficient bridges, 37th in traffic congestion, 33rd in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 47th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Colorado ranks 26th in total spending per mile and 28th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Colorado needs to improve its rural Interstate pavement condition. Colorado is in the bottom five of all states in rural Interstate pavement condition. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Colorado’s overall highway performance is worse than New Mexico (ranks 16th), Utah (ranks 17th), and Wyoming (ranks 36th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Colorado is better than some comparable states like Washington (ranks 45th), but worse than others such as Arizona (ranks 23rd).”

Colorado’s best rankings are in rural arterial pavement condition (16th) and structurally deficient bridges (18th).

Colorado’s worst rankings are in rural Interstate pavement condition (47th) and administrative disbursements per mile (40th).

Colorado’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 31st 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.