Policy Study

New Jersey Ranks 50th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

New Jersey’s best rankings are in overall fatality rate, rural fatality rate, and urban fatality rate.

New Jersey’s highway system ranks 50th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. There is no change from the previous report, where New Jersey also ranked 50th overall.

In safety and performance categories, New Jersey ranks 3rd in overall fatality rate, 29th in structurally deficient bridges, 40th in traffic congestion, 45th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 36th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, New Jersey ranks 50th in total spending per mile and 50th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, New Jersey needs to reduce spending, improve pavement condition, and decrease traffic congestion. The state ranks 50th in three of the four disbursement categories (overall, capital and bridge, and maintenance), the bottom 10 in three of four pavement categories (urban Interstate, rural arterial, and urban arterial), and 40th in traffic congestion. New Jersey ranks in the bottom 10 states in eight of the 13 metrics. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds New Jersey’s overall highway performance is worse than Delaware (ranks 48th), New York (ranks 44th), and Pennsylvania (ranks 39th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “New Jersey is doing worse than comparable states like Massachusetts (ranks 47th) and Maryland (ranks 41st).”

New Jersey’s best rankings are in overall fatality rate (3rd) and rural fatality rate (4th).

New Jersey’s worst rankings are total disbursements per mile (50th), capital and bridge disbursements per mile (50th), and maintenance disbursements per mile (50th).

New Jersey’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 47th 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.