Policy Study

Tennessee Ranks 7th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Tennessee’s best rankings are in total disbursements per mile, capital and bridge disbursements per mile, rural arterial pavement condition, urban arterial pavement condition, and urban Interstate pavement condition.

Tennessee’s highway system ranks 7th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This represents no change from the previous report, where Tennessee also ranked 7th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Tennessee ranks 33rd in overall fatality rate, 10th in structurally deficient bridges, 24th in traffic congestion, 8th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 12th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Tennessee ranks 5th in total spending per mile and 7th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Tennessee needs to reduce its fatality rate. The state ranks in the bottom 15 for urban fatality rate and the bottom 20 for overall fatality rate. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Tennessee’s overall highway performance is better than Georgia (ranks 26th), Mississippi (ranks 8th), and Virginia (ranks 21st),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Tennessee is doing worse than comparable states like Kentucky (ranks 4th) and Missouri (ranks 2nd).”

Tennessee’s best rankings are in total disbursements per mile (5th) and capital and bridge disbursements per mile (7th).

Tennessee’s worst rankings are in urban fatality rate (35th) and overall fatality rate (33rd).

Tennessee’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 20th 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.