Policy Study

Delaware Ranks 48th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Delaware’s best rankings are rural arterial pavement condition, structurally deficient bridges, and urban fatality rate.

Delaware’s highway system ranks 48th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a six-spot decline from the previous report, where Delaware ranked 42nd overall.

In safety and performance categories, Delaware ranks 24th in overall fatality rate, 8th in structurally deficient bridges, 50th in traffic congestion, and 47th in urban Interstate pavement condition. Delaware has no rural Interstate mileage.

On spending, Delaware ranks 47th in total spending per mile and 41st in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Delaware needs to reduce its spending, decrease congestion and improve its urban Interstate pavement condition. The state ranks last for congestion, in the bottom five for urban Interstate pavement condition, and in the bottom 10 for all four disbursement rankings (total spending, capital and bridge, maintenance, and administrative). Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Delaware’s overall highway performance is better than New Jersey (ranks 50th), but worse than Maryland (ranks 41st) and Pennsylvania (ranks 39th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Delaware is doing worse than comparable states like Connecticut (ranks 35th) and New Hampshire (ranks 29th).”

Delaware’s best rankings are in rural arterial pavement condition (1st) and structurally deficient bridges (8th).

Delaware’s worst rankings are in administrative disbursements per mile (50th), and urbanized area congestion (50th).

Delaware’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 42nd 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.