A Look At Michigan Transportation Data

This is not about urban Grand Rapids, it is about the state of Michigan. But the data is too interesting to pass up. For anyone interested this data (and more than mentioned here) is available for every state at's "State Transportation by the Numbers Profiles" page.

One statistic that really stands out is that of Michigan's 122,051 miles of public roads ... 89.1% are of acceptable quality. This in contrast to a national average of 81.3%. So Michigan roads beat the national average by 7.8%, and are only a percentage point away from having 90% of roads at acceptable quality. Where is the crisis of road quality? I hear about this crisis all the time.

With 122,051 miles of roads and 9,909,877 citizens [2014 estimate] there are roughly 80 citizens per road-mile; a number which includes children and elderly. Another correlation would be 122,051 miles of roads for a workforce of 4,747,800 workers (December 2014) - or 38 workers per road mile. Given the cost of a road-mile this is clearly an unsustainable system. Given only 38 workers to pay for every road mile the fact that our roads are 89.1% acceptable is a miraculous achievement. The simplest solution to funding improved quality of our core corridors would be reducing the overall number of road miles to a sustainable level. Or if not a net reduction in road miles a reduction in the service level of low-use and tertiary roads.

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