Joseph Miller

Recently, TRIP, a national transportation research group, released a report on the state of urban roadways in cities across the country. Specifically, the group looked at the overall conditions of urban roads (measured in terms of smoothness) and calculated the additional costs for the average driver created by driving on roads in need of repair.

                Those who have followed our blogs on this topic will be unsurprised to learn that Missouri’s largest cities, St. Louis and Kansas City, rank well on these measures. In terms of overall smoothness, Kansas City and St. Louis rank 8th and 11th, respectively, among the nation’s 75 largest metro areas:

Rank

Urban Area

State

Poor

Mediocre

Fair

Good

Road Condition Index

1

Nashville-Davidson

TN

9%

11%

15%

65%

1.16

2

Minneapolis--St. Paul

MN

6%

19%

16%

59%

1.03

3

Raleigh

NC

7%

18%

26%

49%

0.92

4

Rochester

NY

11%

18%

31%

40%

0.71

5

Orlando

FL

8%

33%

2%

57%

0.67

6

Phoenix

AZ

13%

31%

2%

54%

0.53

7

Indianapolis

IN

17%

21%

20%

42%

0.49

8

Kansas City

MO

13%

27%

21%

38%

0.44

9

Atlanta

GA

18%

23%

18%

41%

0.41

10

Bakersfield

CA

7%

34%

29%

30%

0.41

11

St. Louis

MO

16%

29%

16%

39%

0.33

12

Louisville

KY

18%

26%

20%

37%

0.32

13

Cincinnati

OH

20%

23%

21%

36%

0.30

14

Buffalo

NY

14%

33%

16%

37%

0.29

       

70

Detroit

MI

56%

28%

2%

14%

-1.10

71

San Diego

CA

51%

34%

5%

10%

-1.11

72

Riverside--San Bernardino

CA

46%

41%

7%

6%

-1.14

73

Concord

CA

62%

30%

2%

5%

-1.42

74

Los Angeles

CA

73%

21%

3%

4%

-1.56

75

San Francisco-Oakland

CA

74%

20%

4%

2%

-1.60

                The relative smoothness of Missouri’s urban highways means lower costs for drivers. According to TRIP, the average driver in St. Louis and Kansas City paid $398 and $438, respectively, in annual additional vehicle operating costs from bad roads. That is far less than the U.S. large metro median ($640 per vehicle). San Francisco’s road conditions cost drivers the most, at an average $1,044 per year.

                The latest TRIP report underscores the fact that Missouri’s major roads are in comparatively good condition, at least in urban areas. However, to maintain and improve road quality, Missouri’s highways need regular maintenance and an adequate user-funding base to back that maintenance, which they currently do not have

About the Author

Joseph Miller
Policy Analyst
Joseph Miller was a policy analyst at the Show-Me Institute. He focused on infrastructure, transportation, and municipal issues. He grew up in Itasca, Ill., and earned an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a master’s degree from the University of California-San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies.