New Jersey seems to be a bit of an anomaly in the most recent national highway report, with rankings that range from the near top to the very bottom across a number of measured areas. Overall, those numbers seem to point to a state that is working hard to decrease fatalities in car accidents, while doing so in an environment fraught with infrastructure challenges.
For starters, New Jersey ranks 4th in fatality rates among all states in the country in the 19th Annual Highway Report authored by the Reason Foundation, a traffic-safety and highway-performance monitoring group out of Los Angeles. At the same time, though, the state is quite obviously challenged by tight traffic corridors being utilized by a comparatively large number of motorists.
In short, when thinking New Jersey, consider states like North Dakota, Montana and others as extreme opposites, areas where far fewer drivers travel on relatively unused roads that can be cheaply administered and maintained. It is not surprising that those two states, followed by Kansas and New Mexico, are considered to have the most cost-effective state road systems.
Here is perhaps the most notable statistic of all: At one end of the cost spectrum is South Carolina, which spends an estimated $34,000 to maintain each mile of road within its borders; at the opposite end is New Jersey, which spends $1.1 million per mile on state roads. The implications are obvious for cost-effectiveness measures: New Jersey ranks dead last.
New Jersey also rank low (47th) in the administrative costs associated with each mile of road. In this area, for example, Virginia spends $6,370 per mile, while the outlay for New Jersey is $62,748.
Despite the formidable urban congestion and staggering costs associated with road upkeep, though, New Jersey’s low fatality rate is impressively low and beneath that of many states that face comparatively fewer traffic challenges.