Policy Study

North Dakota Ranks 1st in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

North Dakota’s best rankings are in maintenance disbursements per mile, urban traffic congestion, and total disbursements per mile.

North Dakota’s highway system ranks 1st in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is no change from the previous report, where North Dakota also ranked 1st overall.

In safety and performance categories, North Dakota ranks 21st in overall fatality rate, 42nd in structurally deficient bridges, 3rd in traffic congestion, 5th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 5th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, North Dakota ranks 4th in total spending per mile and 12th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, North Dakota needs to reduce its percentage of structurally deficient bridges. North Dakota ranks in the bottom 10 for structurally deficient bridges. Compared to nearby states, the report finds North Dakota’s overall highway performance is better than Minnesota (ranks 15th), Nebraska (ranks 12th), and Wyoming (ranks 36th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “North Dakota is doing better than comparable states like Montana (ranks 10th) and South Dakota (ranks 11th).”

North Dakota’s best rankings are in maintenance disbursements per mile (2nd) and urban area traffic congestion (3rd).

North Dakota’s worst rankings are structurally deficient bridges (42nd), urban arterial pavement condition (28th), and rural fatality rate (28th).

North Dakota’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 38th 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.