OH Traffic 6-8-2017

Morning traffic crawls through Bedford, Ohio, on I-271 southeast of Cleveland.

Ohio came near the middle of the pack of states across the U.S. in a nonpartisan organization’s analysis of highway conditions.

In their recently released 24th annual Highway Report, researchers with the Reason Foundation gave the Buckeye State high marks for low rural fatalities, but assigned a low score for the high cost of maintaining bridges.

Baruch Feigenbaum, M. Gregory Fields and Spence Purnell, researchers with the Reason Foundation, tabulated this year’s report. They singled out Ohio as a state of note within the 65-page document.

The trio said lesser-populated states had a slight advantage in the rankings, though there were exceptions, with Ohio – having the seventh highest population in the country – being among the general trend breakers.

“Ohio illustrates two ranking realities,” the researchers wrote. “First, a state with large metro areas can rank highly, and second, a state with an absence of poor rankings has a better overall ranking than a state with several excellent rankings, but several poor rankings as well.”

According to the report, Ohio’s rural fatality rate was 0.69 deaths per 100 million rural vehicle-miles. By comparison, the top performing state, Massachusetts, was 0.24 fatalities per 100 million rural vehicle-miles. The lowest performer, Hawaii, notched 6.99 deaths per 100 million rural vehicle-miles.

Ohio also scored above the median in urban fatality rates. With a No. 15 ranking, the overall fatality rate in the state’s more populated areas was 0.59 deaths per 100 million urban vehicle-miles.

The Reason Foundation researchers analyzed data in more than a dozen specific categories.

“(Ohio’s) high overall ranking is a result of it not placing in the bottom 10 in any category,” they wrote. “It ranks in the second quintile (11th to 20th) in five categories, the third quintile (21st to 30th) in four categories and the fourth quintile (31st to 40th) in three categories.”

Ohio’s lowest ranking, No. 39, in the capital and bridge disbursements category, was the result of the comparatively high cost of building new, and widening existing, highways and bridges.

According to the analysis, Ohio’s disbursement clocked in at $50,811, per state-controlled lane mile, in 2016, the year of the statistical analysis. By comparison, South Carolina, which came in No. 1 in the category, notched disbursements of $8,154 per lane mile.

On the whole, Reason Foundation’s researchers concluded many of the nation’s highway conditions are deteriorating, particularly in some areas of the country where infrastructure costs remain a challenge for state budgets.

“In looking at the nation’s highway system as a whole, there was a decades-long trend of incremental improvement in most key categories, but the overall condition of the highway system has worsened in recent years,” Feigenbaum, lead author of the study, said in a statement.

North Dakota was the top-performing state overall in the analysis, while New Jersey ranked No. 50.