Freeway Travel Trends

Metropolitan Council researchers have developed an interactive tool that allows users to explore traffic count trends on Twin Cities metro area freeway system. Trends are compared to a historic, pre-pandemic baseline. Users can view daily and hourly trends at more than 2,000 individual traffic monitoring stations or view summarized trends for freeway corridors and the entire metropolitan area.

A line graph of traffic volumes relative to typical traffic. A blue line shows traffic trends for the metro area freeway system, relative to a horizontal line at zero that represents “typical traffic.” Metro area freeway traffic was down as much as 70%25 during the stay-at-home order but rebounded steadily over time.A line graph of traffic volumes relative to typical traffic (the horizontal line at zero). The blue line shows traffic trends for the metro area freeway system. Metro area freeway traffic was down as much as 70% during the stay-at-home order (gray rectangle) but rebounded steadily over time.

What this tool can do

This tool can be used to view broad traffic trends across the Twin Cities freeway network. Trends are summarized at varying time scales (daily, day part, hourly) and three different levels of geography:

  • Station-level trends: This is the most detailed level of spatial grouping in our tool. A “station” is usually a group of 2 to 4 sensors that count traffic across each lane of the freeway. Station-level trends are available at daily and day part (morning peak, mid-day, evening peak) time scales.
  • Corridor-level trends: Corridors are groups of stations along a freeway (e.g., I-494). Corridor-level trends are available at the hourly level, for each hour of the day.
  • System-level trends: The freeway system represents all available stations in the MnDOT freeway sensor network. System-level trends are available at daily level and by day part (morning peak, mid-day, and evening peak).

What this tool cannot do

These data become less trustworthy, and more sensitive to sensor malfunction and other sources of error, at finer time scales and smaller geographies. Users should use caution when drawing conclusions from individual stations represented on the map and reach out to our data team with questions.

Launch the tool.

Contact

Ashley Asmus
Metropolitan Council
ashley.asmus@metc.state.mn.us