Policy Study

Massachusetts Ranks 47th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Massachusetts’ best rankings are in overall fatality rate, rural fatality rate, and urban fatality rate.

Massachusetts’ highway system ranks 47th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a one-spot decline from the previous report, where Massachusetts ranked 46th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Massachusetts ranks 1st in overall fatality rate, 36th in structurally deficient bridges, 48th in traffic congestion, 26th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 30th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Massachusetts ranks 49th in total spending per mile and 48th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Massachusetts needs to decrease spending, improve arterial pavement condition, and reduce traffic congestion. The state is in the bottom 15 for all four disbursements metrics and the bottom five for urban arterial pavement condition and traffic congestion. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Massachusetts’ overall highway performance is worse than Rhode Island (ranks 46th), Connecticut (ranks 35th), and Vermont (ranks 30th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Massachusetts is doing better than some comparable states like New Jersey (ranks 50th), while worse than others like Maryland (ranks 41st).”

Massachusetts’ best rankings are in its overall fatality rate (1st) and rural fatality rate (2nd).

Massachusetts’ worst rankings are in its total disbursements per mile (49th) and administrative disbursements per mile (49th).

Massachusetts’ state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 46th 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.