If you’re heading out on the road this vacation season, you’ll be hoping for safe, clear, well-maintained roads to make your trip as pleasant as possible. But which state, or, more specifically, which state’s Department of Transportation does the best job when it comes to keeping up roads, highways and bridges?
CarInsurance.com recently asked drivers to rank how good their state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) was in critical areas such as maintaining roads, completing construction projects quickly and efficiently, mitigating traffic and providing a safe driving environment. We also asked how well they thought their DOTs were at customer service.
Wyoming was ranked No. 1, followed by New York, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Iowa.
The survey, conducted in the spring of 2023, polled 2,300 drivers nationwide. For the overall ranking, the scores were determined based on the following data: 40% for overall satisfaction, 20% for the quality of road/bridge infrastructure and projects completion, 20% for traffic safety and traffic mitigation, 10% for roadway cleanliness and 10% for digital experience.
- Top DOTs in the U.S.
- Which states have the highest customer satisfaction rankings?
- Which state DOTs have the best digital experience?
- States ranked by infrastructure: Which states have the best-quality roads, highways and bridges?
- Which state DOTs are the best for infrastructure maintenance?
- Which state DOTs are the best for traffic mitigation?
- How would you rate the cleanliness of your state’s roads?
- Which DOTs excel at promoting traffic safety?
- Resources & Methodology
Top DOTs in the U.S.
Considering all the categories, here are the 25 states with the best Departments of Transportation in the country with details on the top 10 states.
No. 1: Wyoming
Wyoming, with miles of well-maintained, congestion-free highways in all directions, is the top pick for drivers. It scored highly in practically all categories, including traffic safety, lack of congestion, cleanliness and the quality of its roads. It might be the least populated state with just more than half a million residents, but more is spent per capita on Wyoming highways – $1,366 – than all but two other states, Alaska and North Dakota, according to the Tax Policy Center, an Urban Institute and Brookings Institution joint venture. The state also gets good marks from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for its highway conditions.
No. 2: New York
As one of the most populous states, New York’s DOT has a tough job maintaining its roads and highways. But most drivers in the state think it does a good job overall.
New York ranked first for its digital experience, helping keep drivers informed and updated online, and also fared well in such categories as quality of roads and cleanliness. Not surprisingly, it didn’t fare as well in traffic congestion.
No. 3: Mississippi
Drivers in Mississippi give their DOT top marks for customer satisfaction and high marks for traffic mitigation and safety. The state approved record funding this year for road improvements, which could lead to greater satisfaction.
No. 4: New Hampshire
With its beautiful White Mountains and quaint New England towns, New Hampshire is a favorite for road trippers. Its drivers also think those roads are well maintained and kept clean. Drivers didn’t give the state’s DOT very high marks for its digital offerings, however, leaving room for improvement.
“The NHDOT is proud to be in the top 10, and we are grateful to our maintenance crews and the many great contractors that also take great pride when they reconstruct the roads and bridges in New Hampshire,” says New Hampshire DOT Commissioner William Cass.
No. 5: Iowa
While it didn’t finish in first place in any categories, Iowa ranked highly in most, including traffic safety, handling road construction efficiently and lacking congestion. In its report on overall road quality, the ASCE gave Iowa a B minus grade, one of its highest grades.
“Iowa Department of Transportation is committed to making the lives of Iowans and our visitors better through transportation. Our priority goals include growing innovation and improving the safety and performance of the transportation system, as well as customer service. This ranking shows that the focus we are putting on these areas is making a difference in the lives of those we serve,” says Scott Marler, Iowa Department of Transportation director.
No. 6: South Dakota
With one of the lowest population densities in the country, South Dakota scored very well for highway cleanliness, quality of roads and a lack of traffic congestion. Similar to New Hampshire, South Dakota drivers felt its DOT could be doing more in terms of its digital offerings
No. 7: Arizona
Snowbirds flock to Arizona in the winter, seeking an escape from the cold Midwest winters. The state also has one of the fastest-growing populations, meaning its DOT has a tough job keeping up. In general, drivers think it’s doing a good job, scoring it highly for lack of congestion, getting road work done quickly and efficiently and improving the state’s roads. It didn’t fare poorly in any category although it was about middle of the pack for highway cleanliness.
No. 8: Washington State
With soaring coastal mountains, gorgeous seaside drives and lush farmland in the interior, Washington offers drivers lots of variety. It didn’t score first in any category, but drivers gave the DOT high marks for its digital experience and the overall quality of its roads.
No. 9: Georgia
With more than 10 million residents, it’s unsurprising that Georgia didn’t get the highest marks for traffic congestion. Still, drivers think its DOT is doing a pretty good job in traffic safety, keeping highways clean and the general quality of its roads.
No. 10: Montana
Once again, having a lower population density and miles of open roadway helps lead to pleasant driving experiences. Montana scored highly for its efficient handling of road construction projects, traffic safety, and completion of construction projects quickly and efficiently. It also had one of the highest grades in the ASCE’s report on the quality of U.S. roads.
21. North Dakota
Which states have the highest customer satisfaction rankings?
Several factors go into determining how satisfied drivers are with their state DOTs.
Such considerations include impressions of road congestion, construction, maintenance, safety and funding, and satisfaction with DOTs overall.
In our survey, Mississippi’s DOT ranked top in customer satisfaction rankings, followed by New York, Idaho, Georgia and Delaware.
Drivers in Mississippi gave its DOT high marks in several categories, including its success at reducing road congestion.
The state appears to be on track to double down on DOT projects in 2023 after the Mississippi Legislature approved record DOT funding of $2 billion. It includes $450 million for new capacity projects, to add lanes or build new roadways and an additional $100 million for an emergency road and bridge repair fund.
“We’re very honored to receive such recognition. At every level, we strive to deliver the best product for the taxpayers of Mississippi efficiently and effectively. I’m very proud of our employees and the work they do here at MDOT, and we will continue making every effort to be even better,” says Brad White, executive director of MDOT.
Which state DOTs have the best digital experience?
The New York State DOT has been a leader in using the web to inform and serve its drivers. Its 511NY site, for example, provides drivers with a visual map of road conditions across the state, including closures, construction and reported incidents. It also Tweets out accidents and construction updates to followers.
Drivers in the state give the DOT top marks for the innovations it’s been making on the web, scoring it No.1 overall for the digital experience it provides.
Alaska also fared quite well in this category, placing second, followed by Wyoming, Washington, and Tennessee.
States ranked by infrastructure: Which states have the best-quality roads, highways and bridges?
With Yellowstone National Park in one corner, Devils Tower National Monument in another and plenty of wide, open spaces in between, Wyoming has one of the most scenic landscapes in the country. And drivers say it has plenty of well-maintained roads, highways and bridges to travel.
CarInsurance.com asked drivers to rank their state DOTs based on the overall quality of their road infrastructure.
Wyoming came out on top in the survey, followed by New York, Idaho, New Hampshire and Texas.
In the ASCE’s state-by-state report card on overall road conditions, Wyoming also fared well, getting a reasonably high C grade. Most states in the ASCE’s report had D ratings.
Conversely, Michigan and Rhode Island came last in the survey.
Which state DOTs are the best for infrastructure maintenance?
When the question was narrowed down to specifically which DOTs do the best job at ensuring highway, road and bridge work is handled quickly and efficiently, Wyoming once again came out on top. Its Western neighbor Montana followed it in second; with New Hampshire, Arizona and New York rounding out the top 5.
Which state DOTs are the best for traffic mitigation?
With just over 580,000 residents, Wyoming is the least-populous state in the nation. And with 33,000 miles of road, that leaves some room for smooth sailing.
Whether by design or favorable demographics, drivers also seem to think Wyoming is the best for lack of traffic congestion.
“At WYDOT, we strive to provide a safe and effective transportation system for the citizens of Wyoming and all those who travel to and through our great state,” says Doug McGee, public affairs officer for the Wyoming Department of Transportation. We invite everyone to plan a trip to Wyoming to experience our world-class transportation system.”
Drivers in Mississippi gave their state DOT the second-highest ranking, followed by Indiana, Idaho and West Virginia.
Each of those five top states is among the lowest for population density except for Indiana. New Jersey, which finished second last in the survey for traffic congestion (behind Pennsylvania), has the country’s highest population density, according to the U.S. Census.
How would you rate the cleanliness of your state’s roads?
With its picturesque White Mountains, gorgeous foliage displays in the fall and postcard-perfect covered bridges, New Hampshire is an excellent destination for scenic road trips.
And it seems the state’s DOT does a pretty good job of keeping those roads clean and tidy.
When asked how drivers rate the cleanliness of their roads, New Hampshire came out on top of the survey, followed by South Dakota, Wyoming, New York and Wisconsin.
Which DOTs excel at promoting traffic safety?
Traffic safety is often a direct result of driver behavior. But not always: Poor design, inadequate lighting or a lack of rest stops can be essential factors.
When drivers were asked if their DOTs excelled at ensuring safe traveling conditions, most states fared reasonably well in this category. However, Wyoming was the clear winner.
Once again, it could have much to do with its low population density, but its many miles of road equates to significant maintenance. South Dakota placed second in this category, followed by New Hampshire, Oregon and Iowa.
Resources & Methodology
American Society of Civil Engineers. “Infrastructure Report Card.” Accessed June 2023.
AARP. “2023 Travel Trends.” Accessed June 2023.
U.S. Census Bureau. “Population Density of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico: 1910 to 2020.” Accessed June 2023.
511NY. “New York Traffic.” Accessed June 2023.
WYDOT. “Wyoming Department of Transportation.” Accessed June 2023.
CarInsurance.com commissioned Slice to survey 2,300 drivers nationwide on what their state Department of Transportation was doing to keep up road quality, satisfying customers and general safety. Drivers were aged 18 and older. For the overall ranking, the scores were determined based on the following data: 40% for overall satisfaction, 20% for the quality of road/bridge infrastructure and projects completion, 20% for traffic safety and traffic mitigation, 10% for roadway cleanliness and 10% for digital experience.