Policy Study

Indiana Ranks 32nd in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Indiana’s highway system ranks 32nd in the nation in overall cost- effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway

Report by Reason Foundation. This is identical to the previous report, where Indiana also ranked 32nd.

Indiana’s Interstate pavement quality is in very poor shape. Indiana’s percentage of rural and urban Interstate pavement ranks in the bottom 11 of all states. For rural pavement quality, 4.08% of Indiana’s system is in poor condition compared to 2.38% of Minnesota’s system and 1.87% of Ohio’s system. For urban pavement quality, the numbers are 6.31%, 5.85%, and 4.40% respectively.

In safety and performance categories, Indiana ranks 16th in overall fatality rate, 21st in structurally deficient bridges, 38th in traffic congestion, 40th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 44th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

Indiana spends $94,623 per mile of state-controlled road. Indiana is 33rd in total spending per mile and 36th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

Indiana’s best rankings are in rural arterial pavement condition (15th) and overall fatality rate (16th).

Indiana’s worst rankings are rural Interstate pavement condition (44th) and maintenance disbursements (42nd).

Indiana drivers waste 17.96 hours per year in traffic congestion, ranking 38th in the nation.

Indiana’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 23rd largest highway system in the country.

“To improve in the rankings, Indiana needs to have its medium-high spending translate into smoother Interstate pavement and less traffic congestion,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy

at Reason Foundation. “While it’s challenging for a state to have strong rankings across the board, Indiana does not have a single category rank in the top 10 while the state ranks in the bottom 15 of all states in four categories.”

Additional Analysis

Compared to nearby states, Indiana’s overall highway performance is worse than Kentucky (ranks 4th) but better than Illinois (ranks 40th) and Michigan (ranks 34th).

Indiana ranks behind other comparable states, like Minnesota (ranks 18th) and Ohio (ranks 24th).

Indiana is not awful in any one category, but the state does not excel at anything either. Indiana spends about $14,000 more per lane-mile than Minnesota and Ohio, yet it has more poor Interstate pavement miles than Minnesota and about twice as many as Ohio. Maintenance disbursements are a particularly weak area with the state spending twice what Minnesota spends per mile and four times what Ohio spends per mile. With this level of spending, the state needs to work on improving pavement quality and reducing traffic congestion.

Indiana is one of five states with more than 4% of their rural Interstate pavement condition in poor condition. Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and South Carolina 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.