While 2020 will be an anomaly, the number of miles traveled on American roads tends to increase each year and travel on urban roads has continued to rise alongside increased urbanization. Yet road conditions in the nation’s urban regions remain deficient — and costly to motorists.
Apart from being unpleasant to drive on, poor roads are linked to worse traffic, reduced safety, and increased vehicle ownership costs. Research from AAA found that potholes alone cost U.S. drivers $3 billion a year in vehicle repair costs. And transportation research group TRIP reports that the average driver in Los Angeles spends about $921 annually on extra repairs, increased gas consumption and tire wear due to bad roads.
To find which urban areas have the worst roads, researchers at CoPilot, a car shopping app, analyzed road quality statistics from the Federal Highway Administration (FHA.) Using the FHA’s International Roughness Index (IRI) data, they ranked each urban area based on the percentage of road-miles categorized as poor.
CoPilot found that, according to the FHA data, 26% of major urban roads in the U.S. are in poor condition — but that statistic jumps significantly in California, where almost half of major urban roads (46.2%) are in poor condition. In CoPilot’s ranking of 15 urban regions with the worse roads, California took the top 3 slots.
Top 3 Large Urban Areas With the Worst Roads:
# 3. Los Angeles–Long Beach–Anaheim, CA
- Percentage of all major roads in poor condition: 62.8%
- Interstates & freeways in poor condition: 11.6%
- Arterials in poor condition: 68.6%
- Minor arterials in poor condition: 68.9%
# 2. San Jose, CA
- Percentage of all major roads in poor condition: 63.3%
- Interstates & freeways in poor condition: 9.8%
- Arterials in poor condition: 53.9%
- Minor arterials in poor condition: 88.9%
# 1. San Francisco–Oakland, CA
- Percentage of all major roads in poor condition: 71.2%
- Interstates & freeways in poor condition: 15.7%
- Arterials in poor condition: 70.8%
- Minor arterials in poor condition: 88.2%
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