Policy Study

South Dakota Ranks 11th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

South Dakota’s best rankings are in capital and bridge disbursements per mile, total disbursements per mile, and urban fatality rate.

South Dakota’s highway system ranks 11th 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 South Dakota ranked 14th overall.

In safety and performance categories, South Dakota ranks 36th in overall fatality rate, 47th in structurally deficient bridges, 23rd in traffic congestion, 13th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 13th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, South Dakota ranks 6th in total spending per mile and 4th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, South Dakota needs to reduce its percentage of structurally deficient bridges. South Dakota ranks in the bottom five for structurally deficient bridges. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds South Dakota’s overall highway performance is better than Minnesota (ranks 15th), Iowa (ranks 20th), and Wyoming (ranks 36th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “South Dakota is doing worse than some comparable states like North Dakota (ranks 1st), but better than ithers like Nebraska (ranks 12th).”

South Dakota’s best rankings are in capital and bridge disbursements per mile (4th) and total disbursements per mile (6th).

South Dakota’s worst rankings are structurally deficient bridges (47th) and overall fatality rate (36th).

South Dakota’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 33rd 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.