This study, the eighth in a series, reports on the cost effectiveness of state highway expenditures for the period 1984-1997. Data submitted by the states to the Federal Highway Administration on 12 measures of highway expenditure and system performance are normalized by mileage and averaged to determine which states are performing best. Data on lane-miles are used to weight receipts and disbursements. For the first time, the report covers the full Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) era. The U.S. highway system continues to improve in condition, but that improvement slowed substantially between 1996 and 1997. Although rural interstate condition, bridge condition, fatal accident rates and narrow lane percentages improved from 1996 to 1997, the condition of rural primary roads, urban interstates, and urban congestion worsened. This is in marked contrast to the period 1993-96, when all 7 measures of system performance improved steadily; between 1996 and 1997, 3 of 7 measures worsened. With some exceptions, most states were rated similarly to their 1996 rating. Long term trend analysis is still difficult because of changes in rating methods and incomplete reporting. In perspective, the legacy of ISTEA appears to be substantial improvements in most indicators of system performance, but at substantial increase in cost. Looking ahead to the next six years, the report predicts future higher costs but slower progress, and raises fundamental questions about how good the U.S. highway system should be.

  • Corporate Authors:

    University of North Carolina, Charlotte

    Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, 9201 University City Boulevard
    Charlotte, NC  United States  28223
  • Authors:
    • Hartgen, D T
  • Publication Date: 1999-3-31


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 127 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00766006
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Eighth Annual Report,, Report Number 186
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 26 1999 12:00AM