Policy Study

Georgia Ranks 14th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Georgia’s highway system ranks 14th in the nation in overall cost- effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report

by Reason Foundation. This is a 12-spot improvement from 26th in the previous report.

Georgia ranks in the bottom 10 states in urban fatality rate. Georgia’s 1.03 urban fatality rate is about 1.5 times higher than peer state North Carolina but is similar to peer state Tennessee.

In safety and performance categories, Georgia ranks 28th in overall fatality rate, 7th in structurally deficient bridges, 34th in traffic congestion, 16th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 23rd in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Georgia spends $66,994 per state-controlled mile of highway. It ranks 20th in total spending per mile and 19th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

Georgia’s best rankings are in urban arterial pavement condition (1st) and rural arterial pavement condition (3rd).

Georgia’s worst rankings are in urban fatality rate (41st), urbanized area congestion (34th), and administrative disbursements per mile (34th).

Georgia’s drivers waste 14.75 hours a year in traffic congestion, ranking 34th in the nation.

Georgia’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 11th largest highway system in the country.

“To improve in the report’s overall rankings, Georgia could reduce its urban fatality rate and urban traffic congestion,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “The state made progress reducing its administrative costs and improving rural arterial pavement quality leading to a 12-spot improvement in the rankings.”

Additional Analysis

Compared to nearby states, Georgia’s overall highway performance is better than Florida (ranks 41st), Alabama (ranks 28th), and South Carolina (ranks 23rd).

Georgia ranks behind other comparable states, like North Carolina (ranks 5th) and Tennessee (ranks 10th).

Georgia is a top-10 population state with a major metro area (Atlanta) and ranks better overall than many other high-population states, such as Florida. What is Georgia doing right? Georgia spends around the national average on its highway system but this spending is being effectively used to produce high-quality pavement conditions and well-maintained bridges. One of the state’s biggest weaknesses—urban traffic congestion—is being addressed by building a network of variably-priced managed lanes in metro Atlanta that could improve the state’s traffic congestion in future reports.

Georgia is one of six states that improved in the overall rankings by at least 10 spots from the previous report. Wyoming, Virginia, Vermont, Utah, and New Hampshire are the others.

Georgia is one of 11 states that have urban fatality rates of 1.0 or higher per 100 million vehicle-miles. New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, Alaska, Tennessee, Hawaii, Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina, and Texas are the others.
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, total) per mile.