Policy Study

Idaho Ranks 5th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Idaho’s best rankings are urbanized area congestion, urban Interstate pavement condition, and rural arterial pavement condition.

Idaho’s highway system ranks 5th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This an eight-spot improvement from the previous report, where Idaho ranked 13th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Idaho ranks 35th in overall fatality rate, 23rd in structurally deficient bridges, 1st in traffic congestion, 3rd in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 22nd in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Idaho ranks 11th in total spending per mile and 11th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Idaho needs to improve its fatality rates. Idaho is in the bottom 20 for all three fatality rankings. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Idaho’s overall highway performance is better than Washington (ranks 45th), Oregon (ranks 28th), and Utah (ranks 17th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Idaho is doing better than comparable states like Montana (ranks 10th) and Wyoming (ranks 36th).”

Idaho’s best rankings are in urbanized area congestion (1st) and urban Interstate pavement condition.

Idaho’s worst rankings are in rural fatality rate (39th) and rural fatality rate (36th).

Idaho’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 12th 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.