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Twin Cities traffic congestion slowed a tiny bit in 2011

Miles and duration of highway congestion
MnDOT
Miles and duration of highway congestion

Traffic on Twin Cities freeways saw a slight decrease in congestion in 2011.

Really.

Sitting in traffic, it just doesn't seem that way.

A report this week from the state Department of Transportation says congestion rate dropped from 21.5 percent in 2010 to 21.0 percent. A big factor was completion of the Crosstown project at  I-35W and Hwy. 62, the report says.

Here's how MnDOT defines congestion:

"... traffic flowing at speeds less than or equal to 45 Miles per Hour (MPH). This definition does not include delays that may occur at speeds greater than 45 MPH.  The 45 MPH speed limit was selected since it is the speed where “shock waves” can propagate. These conditions also pose higher risks of crashes.  Although shock waves can occur above 45 MPH there is a distinct difference in traffic flow above and below the 45 MPH limit."

Data for this year was gathered in October from 758 miles of freeway in the area.

The congestion trend, not surprisingly, is up, but there are outlier years.

In 2009 it dropped to 17 percent; in 2001, during the meter ramp shutdown, it was 21.3 percent; in 2007, after the I-35W bridge collapse, it was 20.9 percent.

So buckle up, pay attention, don't text, don't gawk and slow traffic, kindly move to the right.

2011 metro freeway congestion

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Comments (2)

There IS No Congestion

Honestly, I can't believe the way some Minnesotans carry on about our "congestion" here. What we have is absolutely nothing compared to what you will find in Chicago.

For God's sake, we have more freeway lane-miles per capita than L.A.! This regular drumbeat about congestion only furthers our mistaken belief that we can increase highway capacity to solve the problem. We can't. If we want to keep our roads flowing we need to invest much more in public transit.

Congestion shmestion.

Try a bike commute. We've got plenty of off-road bike paths and riding on streets isn't too bad; most of the time motorists are very respectful. My daily commutes are some of the nicest parts of my day. If you need help finding a route to work, try google maps using the cycling tab. It'll help you plan out a cycling-friendly trip.