Get ready, traffic geeks, because there is lots of traffic data flying around the city the past couple days. First off, Seattle’s traffic is now ranked 10th worst in the country. Considering the city was once second worst, I’d say that we’re doing pretty good. Mike Lindblom at Seattle Times reports that in 2003, there were an average 975,000 vehicle trips per day. In 2009, there were only 900,000. That’s a great start, Seattle!
Drivers here wasted an average of 44 hours per year stuck in traffic, down from 47 hours last year. You know what Seattle did not do to decrease congestion and time wasted in traffic? Build new highways. However, we did invest in light rail and bicycle infrastructure. In fact, Seattle’s “urban mobility” has increased in spite of problems with the counting methods (PDF) used by the Texas Transportation Institute.
There’s also lots of good 2009 data from SDOT I am still pouring over. However, Erica at Publicola reported the following:
Even as bike ridership went up, the percentage of bike commuters involved in collisions went down. The city’s bike master plan, adopted in 2007, has a goal of reducing bike collisions by a third by 2017.Some specifics on those collisions: Although people age 15 to 24 make up only 14 percent of the city’s population, they accounted for 24 percent of bike collisions in 2009. Statistically, the most dangerous time and day to drive last year was evening rush hours (between 4 and 7 pm) on Wednesdays. Most collisions occurred when a cyclist was riding with the flow of traffic, which is how, by law, they’re supposed to ride. The largest proportion of crashes between cars and bikes (160 out of 382 reported) happened when the driver failed to yield the right-of-way to a cyclist. Out of those 382 collisions, the cyclist was wholly or partly at fault just 154 times; the driver was at fault 295 times.
We’ll have another post coming soon (today or tomorrow) with more data crunching.