These 10 States are in Dire Need of Road Repair
From Insurify.com, August 15, 2018
The least we can expect from our roads is functionality.
But America’s infrastructure is crumbling, and many states across the nation are paying the price. The United States recently earned a D+ rating from the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2017 Infrastructure Report Card. Furthermore, the country ranks ninth in the world for infrastructure, according to the World Economic Forum. Poorly maintained roads and bridges are not economically sustainable, as roadways are vital elements of local supply chains and the national economy.
A recent report by TRIP, a national transportation research group, reveals that around 15 percent of America’s rural roads are in “poor condition” and severely need repair. These poorly maintained roads greatly impact the lives of rural Americans, especially those who are reliant on roads for manufacturing, transporting crops from farm to market, reaching manufactured products to customers, and the production of “energy, food, and fiber,” according to the 2017 study. In addition to hampering economic productivity, faulty and unkempt roadways also impact quality of life in rural areas, where residents are often already at a disadvantage when it comes to physical access to education, employment, and health services.
Then there’s the obvious safety issues associated with poor roads. According to the study, traffic crashes and fatalities occur 2.5 times more often on non-Interstate rural roads than they do on all other roads—a highly disproportionate rate compared to the total miles of travel. TRIP attributes this statistic to the greater likelihood that rural roads have features that reduce safety, like narrow lanes, sharp curves, and pavement drop-offs. When these rural roads are in poor condition, the risk only increases.
Investment in infrastructure can help save lives and improve economic productivity. But state legislators don’t always make fixing shoddy roads and bridges—or even repairs to high-traffic interstate roadways—a priority. Interested in better understanding the state of America’s roads and infrastructure efforts, data scientists at Insurify, an insurance quote comparison website, analyzed TRIP data on road conditions and Census statistics on highway spending. Here’s what they found:
- The states with the worst roads are located mostly in the Northeast and the South.
- The top four states with the highest number of rural roads in poor condition also have markedly low percentages of their state budgets going towards highway construction and maintenance, below the national average of 5.56 percent.
- Surprisingly, state transportation infrastructure budgets did not statistically correlate with the condition of rural roads, suggesting that states’ needs are circumstantial and must be handled on an individual basis.
Listed below are the top 10 states ranked by non-Interstate roads in poor condition. While some of the states listed below are better known for their thriving urban centers, and others are heavily reliant on industries like farming and oil extraction, all of the top 20 have one thing in common: they’re rife with rural roads that require repair.
read … Full Report
- Percent of rural roads in poor condition: 28%
- Percent of bridges that are structurally deficient: 8%
- Percent of state expenditures devoted to highways: 3.68%
Hawaii’s highways have earned a bad reputation for their poor traffic conditions, but it turns out their rural roads and bridges have issues of their own. Residents in the Honolulu metropolitan area issue thousands of pothole claims and road-condition complaints a year, and the TRIP study determined that Honolulu drivers have to pay roughly $745 a year in car maintenance costs as a result of damaged roads.