Policy Study

Kansas Ranks 3rd in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Kansas’ best rankings are in capital and bridge disbursements per mile, rural arterial pavement condition, total disbursements per mile, and maintenance disbursements per mile.

Kansas’ highway system ranks 3rd in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a three-spot improvement from the previous report, where Kansas ranked 6th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Kansas ranks 32nd in overall fatality rate, 17th in structurally deficient bridges, 11th in traffic congestion, 22nd in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 8th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Kansas ranks 7th in total spending per mile and 3rd in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Kansas needs to decrease its fatality rate. Kansas is in the bottom 20 for both overall and rural fatality rates. Compared to nearby states, the report finds Kansas’ overall highway performance is better than Colorado (ranks 38th) and Iowa (ranks 20th), but worse than Missouri (ranks 2nd),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Kansas is doing better than comparable states like Nebraska (ranks 12th) and Oklahoma (ranks 34th).”

Kansas’ best rankings are in capital and bridge disbursements per mile (3rd) and rural arterial pavement condition (4th).

Kansas’ worst rankings are in its rural fatality rate (45th) and overall fatality rate (32nd).

Kansas’ state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 29th 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.