Policy Study

Illinois Ranks 37th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Illinois’ best rankings are overall fatality rate, rural fatality rate, and administrative disbursements per mile.

Illinois’ highway system ranks 37th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a nine-spot decline from the previous report, where Illinois ranked 28th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Illinois ranks 15th in overall fatality rate, 32nd in structurally deficient bridges, 49th in traffic congestion, 32nd in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 21st in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Illinois ranks 37th in total spending per mile and 42nd in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Illinois needs to reduce its spending and congestion. Illinois is in the bottom 15 for two of the four disbursement categories (total and capital and bridge) and in the bottom five for traffic congestion. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Illinois’ overall highway performance is worse than Indiana (ranks 32nd), Wisconsin (ranks 22nd), and Missouri (ranks 2nd),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Illinois is doing worse than comparable states like Michigan (ranks 24th) and Ohio (ranks 13th).”

Illinois’ best rankings are overall fatality rate (15th) and rural fatality rate (16th).

Illinois’ worst rankings are in urbanized area congestion (49th) and capital and bridge disbursements per mile (42nd).

Illinois’ state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 14th 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.