A new study concludes that after adjusting for vehicle miles, there is no correlation between spending and road conditions. States that spend the most per mile on roads don't get the best roads in return for that money spent.
MoneyGeek (MG) studied how states rank on the condition of their roads and their highway infrastructure spending by comparing the roughness measure of each state's urban and suburban highways as well as state and local (municipal and county) government expenditures on their highway system. The researchers then used the metrics below to establish final scores and rankings:
Road Roughness Index: MG developed a composite roughness score of all major urban roadways in each state by weighting each category of measured pavement roughness and aggregating this information across the entire state system.
Percentage Poor vs. Good Condition: MG designated each category of measured pavement roughness into larger groupings and compared the number of lane miles across the state by groupings of higher and lower pavement roughness.
Capital Outlays per Lane Mile: This value is calculated as the total state expenditure on capital outlays for highways divided by the total lane miles in each state's functional road system.
Total Highway Spend: This value is calculated as the total state expenditure on both capital outlays and other expenditures for highways.
MoneyGeek ranked the states and found that climate also has little correlation to road conditions. While some New England states like Massachusetts and Rhode Island rank in the top ten roughest, others do not. The top two regions with the roughest roads are the District of Columbia (yes, we know it's not a state) and California. Hawaii is fourth-worst, despite having one of the highest costs per mile for roads.
The above MoneyGeek chart shows the ten worst states for road roughness. Which two rank best? Oklahoma and Idaho. Check out the full study to see where your state ranks.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin