The Best, Worst, and Deadliest Roads in America: The Rankings
America is spending more money to build, maintain, and improve the roads, and it’s paying off—give or take a few stretches of pavement and a few bridge spans.
America is spending more money to build, maintain, and improve the roads, and it’s paying off—give or take a few stretches of pavement and a few bridge spans. Rural interstates are shaping up, for instance, but their heavily traveled urban counterparts are getting worse. The percentage of deficient bridges has increased for the first time in 25 years, and as almost any driver will attest, congestion isn’t going away. But these trends are more than offset by good news about fatalities—sharply down year over year from 2006 to 2008 (though in 2008, 37,261 Americans died in accidents—more than double the number who died from homicides). To quantify how America’s roads and drivers are doing, we factored in the latest data for spending, congestion, road and bridge condition, and safety to see how our states rate. Here’s what you, your legislators, and your local highway officials can do to fix things and how you can stay alive while you drive.
How We Did the Rankings
Using the latest data from the Federal Highway Administration, we factored in safety, congestion, and the condition of roads and bridges, ranking each state in each category. The average of the ranks was used to determine the final scores.
This is a simple ranking of fatalities per 100 million miles driven. Although Montana appears at No. 3 on the Best Roads list (good infrastructure, little congestion), it tops the Deadliest list in part because of drivers who drink, drive recklessly, or shun seat belts.
Edward A. Sylvestre of Quantitative Insights in Rochester, New York, supervised the calculations in consultation with David T. Hartgen, PhD, of the Reason Foundation, a public-policy think tank. Fran Lostys of Reader’s Digest coordinated the project.