AUSTIN – Using more accurate technology, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) unveiled an updated list of Texas’ 100 most congested roadway segments Wednesday.
In developing the update, the state used actual traffic speed data to calculate delay, rather than estimations based on traffic volume used in the previous list. Parameters for roadway segment length were also adjusted to better capture congested points in the transportation system. The results of this heightened accuracy have state engineers a little excited and encouraged.
So what’s so different?
As a result of the increased accuracy of the data and methodology behind the list, several roadway segments have shifted rankings on the list.
The top 100 list includes the state highway system, and many city, county or toll road segments. Additionally, it now considers both weekday and weekend congestion levels to provide a congestion ranking based on delay experienced all days of the week. Nationally recognized congestion experts with the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) at Texas A&M University collaborated with TxDOT to develop the new list and improved methodology.
“Texans have known for some time that traffic is bad – but this new list accurately pinpoints the traffic hotspots in the state, and will help make sure transportation planners consider these roadways when prioritizing roadway and transit projects,” said Dr. Tim Lomax, Research Engineer with TTI, who coordinated with TxDOT staff to develop the list. “TTI has long distributed reports on congestion levels throughout the United States, including those levels in Texas, but the new methods used in this analysis are on the cutting edge of traffic congestion measurement.”
How is data collected?
To gather actual travel speed data, TTI contracted with INRIX, a private firm that collects real time travel information nationwide and provides that information to a variety of companies for use by the public through GPS units and smart phone applications. Through the contract, TTI received actual speed data for roadways across the state for 2009 to use with traffic volume data to assess total delay.
Previously, the congestion levels were based on traffic volume and used information about operational characteristics to estimate travel speeds. This analysis showed where large volumes of traffic were likely to move at a slow pace, but did not identify where other problems, such as bottlenecks caused by intersecting roadways or poor roadway geometry, are found.
TxDOT first launched a 100 most congested roadways list in 2009 at the direction of the Texas Legislature.
The updated 100 most congested roadways list, additional information about methodology and plans for congestion mitigation are available by visiting txdot.gov.
The Texas Department of Transportation
TxDOT is responsible for maintaining over 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its more than 12,000 employees strive to empower local leaders to solve local transportation problems, and to use new financial tools, including tolling and public-private partnerships, to reduce congestion and pave the way for future economic growth while enhancing safety, improving air quality and increasing the value of the state’s transportation assets. Find out more at www.txdot.gov. Follow us! http://www.facebook.com/TxDOT, www.twitter.com/txdot.