Many cities in the U.S. are known for their poor road conditions. From giant potholes to infrastructure problems, poorly maintained roads can cause a lot of frustration for drivers, not to mention costly repairs for their cars. Do you know which American cities have the worst roads?
The Teletrac Navman team took a look at road conditions in some of the largest urban areas in the United States to determine which cities have the worst roads in America.
Which Cities Have the Worst Roads?
Based on the data provided by TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit, the city with the worst-maintained roads in America is San Francisco, CA; 71% of the roads in the San Francisco-Oakland area were rated “poor.” Only 6% of roads in San Francisco are classified as “good.” Additionally, San Francisco’s poor road conditions cost drivers an average of $1,049 per motorist in vehicle maintenance and repair costs, which is the highest average repair cost in the country.
The second area on the list is another California city — San Jose. In the San Jose area, 64% of roads are considered to be in “poor” condition, while only 9% are considered to be in “good” condition. The average additional maintenance and repair cost for San Jose motorists is $983, just below San Francisco’s.
Another California city comes in third place for cities with the worst-maintained roads. The Los Angeles area (which also includes Long Beach and Anaheim) ranks next on the list, with 57% of roads considered in “poor” condition and 10% of roads in “good” condition. The bad road conditions in LA cost motorists an average of $921.
Next on the list is Honolulu, HI, where 54% of roads are considered to be “poor” and 9% are considered to be “good.” The average cost of vehicle maintenance and repair due to bad road conditions is $851. Tied with Honolulu at the number four spot is Milwaukee, WI, with 54% of roads being in “poor” condition. The average additional vehicle repair cost in Milwaukee is $944.
What constitutes a “poor” road? Poor road conditions include roadways that are extremely deteriorated and may require driving at low speeds as well as ones with large potholes and other signs of distress that cover between 50-75% of the roadway.
Which Cities Have the Best Roads in the U.S.?
In comparison, many cities in the United States have a high percentage of roads considered to be in good condition. On the top of the list is Orlando, FL, where 69% of roads in the area are rated as “good,” meaning they are new or nearly new roadways that offer a smooth ride and have minimal cracks and patches on the roads. Orlando also ranks tenth for urban areas with the lowest additional vehicle maintenance cost, at $383.
The area with the second-highest percentage of good roads is Atlanta, GA, where 66% of roads are in good condition. How are Boston road conditions? Boston comes in third on the list of areas with the best roads in the country, with 65% having a “good” road condition. Tied in fourth place are Jacksonville, FL, and Portland, OR, with 55% “good” roads.
Which Cities Have the Highest and Lowest Average Additional Vehicle Maintenance Costs?
When it comes to additional costs motorists must pay to maintain or repair their cars due to road conditions, some cities are much higher than others. San Francisco ($1,049), San Jose ($938), and Milwaukee ($944) are the three urban areas where drivers will pay the most to repair their cars because of poor road conditions.
On the flip side, the three places with the lowest average additional maintenance costs are Rochester, NY ($305); Boston ($306); and Portland, OR ($309). Both Boston and Portland are also on the list of cities with the highest percentages of roads categorized as “good.”
Wondering how bad roads can hurt your vehicle? Whether you drive a car or are involved in trucking transport, rough or bumpy roads can significantly impact your vehicle’s alignment. Even hitting a small pothole or bump in the road can throw off alignment. Poor alignment can also increase the wear and tear on your tires, reducing their lifespan and requiring you to replace them more often. They are also at higher risk of becoming flat. Additionally, poor road conditions can affect your car’s suspension, which impacts your car’s ability to balance on the road. Repairing your car’s suspension can be a costly process but is necessary to make sure your car is driving smoothly.
|Rank||City||State||% of Poor Roads||% of Mediocre Roads||% of Fair Roads||% of Good Roads||Change From 2016 Rank||Average Additional Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Cost per Driver Due to Road Conditions|
|3||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim||CA||57%||22%||11%||10%||-1||$921|
Top 10 Urban Areas With the Highest Percentages of Poor Roads
|Rank||City||State||% of Poor Roads|
|3||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim||CA||57%|
Top 10 Urban Areas With the Highest Percentages of Good Roads
|Rank||City||State||% of Good Roads|
Top 10 Urban Areas With the Highest Additional Vehicle Maintenance Costs
|Rank||City||State||Average Additional Vehicle Maintenance Cost|
|4||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim||CA||$921|
Top 10 Urban Areas With the Lowest Additional Vehicle Maintenance Costs
|Rank||City||State||Average Additiional Vehicle Repair Cost|
|8||Salt Lake City-West Valley City||UT||$382|
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We’ve mapped the cities with the worst roads in America by their percentage of poor, mediocre, fair, and good roads. From potholes to poor infrastructure funding, these least-drivable cities may surprise you!
The city with the highest percentage of poor-condition roads is Concord, California, which costs locals more than a thousand dollars per motorist annually in vehicle operating costs.
Three-fourths of all roads in Concord are ranked as poor. Only 5% of the roads are in good condition. Luckily, research like this may have produced results; roadwork on its major commuting routes will hopefully begin soon. Meanwhile, the locals who pay the most in operating costs are in Oklahoma City, OK, which is home to 53% poor and 30% mediocre roads. They pay $1,025.
The San Francisco-Oakland metropolitan area isn’t far behind, with 71% of its roads in poor condition.
The Bay Area of California as a whole has poor road conditions for a variety of reasons, one of which is that its roads are paved on top of sandy dunes. The roads have since been buckled by earthquakes. Also, the infrastructure funding in the city is notoriously low due to the fact that there was no increase in the base excise tax for gas in the state for more than a decade. Again, hopefully, this will change soon, with the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 having been passed in the state recently.
On the whole, 32% of all American urban roadways are in unacceptable condition.
TRIP, the private nonprofit that compiled this data using the International Roughness Index, has cited several reasons why these roads are in such poor condition:
- Population and vehicle travel as a whole have increased since 2000 and since the recession.
- Poor choices in pavement materials and technology for the level of moisture in the area leads to faster deterioration.
- To maintain the life cycle of pavement, roads should be maintained regularly even if they’re still in “good” condition, and much funding and action is in reaction to poor conditions.
- Pothole patches need to be made with more effective materials. In a separate study, 56% of pothole patches were effective over a four-year period.
- There is currently a $112 billion backlog of needed bridge rehabilitation, a mounting problem as more than 54,000 of our bridges are “structurally deficient.”
To fix this problem, we would need more aggressive maintenance programs enforced on a federal or local level. Which communities are doing a good job, and who should we be modeling our efforts after?
The city with the highest percentage of good-condition roads is Tallahassee, Florida, with 79% good roads.
Many of the best-ranking cities on this list are in Florida, a state famous for very little wear and tear. But oddly, Syracuse, New York, a city famous for its salt and its horrific winter weather, has the lowest vehicle operating costs, even though only 40% of its roads are in good condition. A relatively poor city, Syracuse attacks its pothole problems with data and ambitious programs.
Another excellent city outside of Florida is Eugene, Oregon. They may have 76% good roads because of a smaller population, but they also may have excellent roads because so many people use them to run and bike Perhaps that’s part of the answer: Use roads less often.