California Ranks as One of the Worst States to Drive In


Everyone hates being stuck in traffic. It makes you late and causes tempers to flare. But more tangibly, it’s costly — in fact, congestion costs the average driver over $1,400 per year in the USA, which is home to 10 of the world’s 25 worst cities for traffic. Congestion isn’t the only concern on the road, though. People also want to know they are commuting on safe, well-maintained roads and bridges.

To help drivers identify the states that provide the best commuting conditions, personal finance website WalletHub compared all 50 states for its 2019 ranking of the Best & Worst States to Drive in.  States were compared across 30 key indicators of a positive commute, from average gas prices to share of rush-hour traffic congestion to road quality. The results show California placing near the bottom of the list.

California’s overall ranking was 47th out of 50 states — with the state ranking low on a number of the key indicators, including: 47th in Road Quality; 42nd in Share of Rush-Hour Traffic Congestion; and 40th in Auto-Maintenance Costs.

Adam McCann, Financial Writer at WalletHub, notes that, “Future improvements to the safety, condition and congestion of roads rely on cooperation between drivers, lawmakers and private industry.” With that in mind, the company sought the advice of a panel of experts. Below is one of the key questions posed to the panel, together with replies from two of the experts:

Q: Which are some of the more efficient measures that state authorities can take it to improve the quality of roads and bridges?

A: Measure #1: money! The commitment of a steady stream of resources for maintenance is the first most important measure to improve the quality of roads and bridges. Measure #2: Change the construction procurement process. The problem is that states try to take on the entire risk of building and maintaining safe roads and bridges. Most states and the federal government have detailed instructions for how to build a bridge or road, despite the fact that the engineers and construction companies are the real experts at building roads and bridges. — Michael J. Gravier, Associate Professor of Marketing and Global Supply Chain Management, Bryant University

A: States are limited by available funding. The federal gas tax has not changed since 1994. When funding is short, often preventive maintenance is sacrificed, and problems become even more expensive to address. New technologies (drones, LiDAR, information systems) are helping states to be more efficient in the use of taxpayer dollars, but that only goes so far. I doubt many would want to try and live on their 1994 paycheck by becoming more efficient! — Reginald Souleyrette, Commonwealth Chair of Transportation Engineering, University of Kentucky

Source:  WalletHub News