Policy Study

Hawaii Ranks 42nd in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Hawaii’s best rankings are urbanized area congestion, structurally deficient bridges, and overall fatality rate.

Hawaii’s highway system ranks 42nd in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a five-spot improvement from the previous report, where Hawaii ranked 47th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Hawaii ranks 23rd in overall fatality rate, 22nd in structurally deficient bridges, 4th in traffic congestion, and 49th in urban Interstate pavement condition. Hawaii has no rural Interstate mileage.

On spending, Hawaii ranks 35th in total spending per mile and 36th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Hawaii needs to improve its pavement condition and reduce its fatality rate. The state ranks in the bottom 15 for all three pavement categories and in the bottom five for both rural and urban fatality rate. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Hawaii’s overall highway performance is worse than Arizona (ranks 23rd) and Oregon (ranks 28th), but better than California (ranks 43rd),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Hawaii is doing better than some comparable states like Alaska (ranks 49th), but worse than others like New Hampshire (ranks 29th).”

Hawaii’s best rankings are in urbanized area congestion (4th) and structurally deficient bridges (22nd).

Hawaii’s worst rankings are in rural fatality rate (50th) and urban Interstate pavement condition (49th).

Hawaii’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the smallest 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.