Throughout history, transportation has played a key role in the development of the American economy, determining where and when growth happens, which is why U.S. News and World Report allots ‘transportation infrastructure quality’ one-third of the weight when ranking America’s Best States for Infrastructure.
The Southern California Partnership for Jobs reported that the publication ranked Nevada as first in the nation for transportation infrastructure. Utah placed second, followed by Delaware, Minnesota and Oregon. California’s transportation systems lagged significantly behind these five top performing states. The Golden State trailed the rankings, positioned at #41 out of all 50 states.
In determining the Best States for Transportation, U.S. News and World Report evaluates transportation infrastructure via four metrics: road quality, bridge quality, commute time, and public transit usage.
This metric measures the percentage of major roads considered to be in poor condition in 2017 in each state, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration. On average, 23% of U.S roads – from rural freeways to urban interstates – are in poor condition. But, with 28% of its roads in poor condition, California hovered at the bottom of the list for Road Quality. Only two states, Texas and Rhode Island, faired worse than California. California ranked #48 for Road Quality.
This measure ranks the average travel time for workers over 16 who did not work at home in 2017, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The
average American worker commutes about 27 minutes each way. Those in North Dakota have the fastest commutes, averaging about 17 minutes, while workers from California can expect to spend around 30 minutes traveling to work . California ranked #46 for Commute Time.
This is a measure of the percentage of bridges that were considered structurally deficient in each state in 2017, according to data from the Department of Transportation. On average, nearly one in 11 American bridges were deficient. The top performers in this category were Texas and Nevada, where fewer than 2% of bridges were structurally deficient. In California, however, 7% of bridges (1,812 bridges) are deficient. California received a mediocre rating for its Bridge Quality, ranking at #19 on the U.S. News listing — but the American Road and Transportation Builders Association recently ranked California lower; 28th worst in the nation for percent of structurally deficient bridges.
Public Transit Usage
This metric measures the average miles traveled on public transportation by one state resident in 2016. With an average of 42 miles traveled per person, New York was #1. And with only one mile per person, Mississippi’s public transit system earned the bottom slot. California performed well in this category, ranking #9 for Public Transit Usage.