Policy Study

Wyoming Ranks 12th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Wyoming’s highway system ranks 12th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a 24-spot improvement from the previous report, where Wyoming ranked 36th overall.

Wyoming ranks in the bottom 10 nationally in overall fatality rate and rural fatality rate. Wyoming’s overall fatality rate of 1.44 is 1.3 times worse than peer state Idaho’s rate and slightly worse than peer state Montana’s rate. Wyoming’s rural fatality rate of 1.92 is 1.5 times worse than both Idaho’s and Montana’s rates.

In safety and performance categories, Wyoming ranks 46th in overall fatality rate, 24th in structurally deficient bridges, 3rd in traffic congestion, 34th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 19th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

Wyoming spends $35,768 per mile of state-controlled road. Wyoming is 10th in total spending per mile and 13th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

Wyoming’s best rankings are in urbanized area congestion (3rd), total disbursements (10th), and maintenance disbursements (10th).

Wyoming’s worst rankings are in overall fatality rate (46th) and rural fatality rate (44th).

Wyoming commuters spend 4.53 hours stuck in traffic congestion, ranking 3rd nationally.

Wyoming’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 38th largest highway system in the country.

“To improve in the rankings, Wyoming needs to reduce its overall fatality rate and rural fatality rate. The state ranks in the bottom 10 in both rankings. While rural states tend to have higher fatality rates, ranking in the bottom 10 is still a real problem. If Wyoming was able to improve its fatality rates to near average, the state would move into the top 10 in the overall rankings,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Wyoming improved 24 spots, the largest change in rank of any state, as the state improved in nine categories and made double-digit improvements in capital and bridge disbursements, urban Interstate pavement condition, and urban arterial pavement condition.”

Additional Analysis

Compared to nearby states, Wyoming’s overall highway performance is better than Nebraska (ranks 21st) and Colorado (ranks 37th) but worse than Utah (ranks 6th).

Wyoming is doing worse than comparable states like Idaho (ranks 8th) and Montana (ranks 11th).

Wyoming is a typical intermountain state. Overall costs are low, pavement and bridge quality is good to average, and the fatality rates are high. Wyoming is ranked in the top half of all states in 10 of 13 rankings. The reason Wyoming is not in the top 10 states overall is the three categorical rankings not in the top 25 of overall fatality rate, rural fatality rate, and urban Interstate pavement condition. Wyoming has a good overall system, but due to those three categories it lags behind peer states Idaho and Montana.

Wyoming is one of six states that improved in the rankings by 10 spots or more from the previous report. Virginia, Vermont, Georgia, Utah, and New Hampshire 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.