Policy Study

Utah Ranks 17th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Utah’s best rankings are in urban arterial pavement condition, structurally deficient bridges, urban area congestion, and overall fatality rate.

Utah’s highway system ranks 17th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is an eight-spot decline from the previous report, where Utah ranked 9th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Utah ranks 6th in overall fatality rate, 4th in structurally deficient bridges, 6th in traffic congestion, 9th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 7th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Utah ranks 36th in total spending per mile and 35th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Utah needs to reduce its spending. Utah ranks in the bottom 20 states for both total and capital and bridge disbursements per mile. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Utah’s overall highway performance is better than Arizona (ranks 23rd), but worse than Idaho (ranks 5th) and New Mexico (ranks 16th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Utah is doing better than comparable states like Colorado (ranks 38th) and Nevada (ranks 27th).”

Utah’s best rankings are in urban arterial pavement condition (4th) and structurally deficient bridges (4th).

Utah’s worst rankings are in total disbursements per mile (36th) and capital and bridge maintenance per mile (35th).

Utah’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 40th 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.