Policy Study

Pennsylvania Ranks 39th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Pennsylvania’s best rankings are in rural fatality rate, overall fatality rate, and administrative disbursements per mile.

Pennsylvania’s highway system ranks 39th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a four-spot decline from the previous report, where Pennsylvania ranked 35th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Pennsylvania ranks 28th in overall fatality rate, 46th in structurally deficient bridges, 43rd in traffic congestion, 40th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 38nd in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Pennsylvania ranks 43rd in total spending per mile and 37th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Pennsylvania needs to reduce its percentage of structurally deficient bridges, total disbursements per mile, and urban area congestion. Pennsylvania is in the bottom 10 for those three categories. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Pennsylvania’s overall highway performance is better than Maryland (ranks 41st) and New Jersey (ranks 50th), but worse than West Virginia (ranks 33rd),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Pennsylvania is doing better than some comparable states like New York (ranks 44th), but worse than others like Ohio (ranks 13th).”

Pennsylvania’s best rankings are in rural fatality rate (10th) and overall fatality rate (28th).

Pennsylvania’s worst rankings are structurally deficient bridges (46th), total disbursements per mile (43rd), and urbanized area congestion (43rd).

Pennsylvania’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 4th 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.