If I told you that the Minneapolis-St. Paul- Bloomington Metropolitan area had the highest average speeds (outside of California) of the fifty largest metropolitan areas in the United States, would you be surprised? I was. According to data released with the 2012 Texas A&M’s Transportation Institutes’s Urban Mobility Report, Powered by Inrix, Table A-8 reveals year 2010 speeds on freeways and arterial streets. Our freeway speeds are slightly below average (54.3 MPH). Our arterial speeds are as fast or faster than anyone else’s (39.6 MPH), and a VMT-weighted average of these two numbers (I estimated 45 MPH) results in higher peak speeds than you find in any other of the fifty largest metropolitan areas (which average 38.1 MPH) outside of California.
What is an arterial? “An arterial road is a moderate or high-capacity road which is immediately below a highway level of service.” A principal arterial is generally on the National Highway System. Minnesota’s guidelines are here. The Metropolitan Council’s study is here (and includes freeways as part of the principal arterial system). It is not exactly clear what definition Inrix used, but since the table says “arterial streets”, I will take it to be anything not a freeway on which they had sufficient sample size to estimate a speed.
The Metropolitan Council’s full classification map is quite large, and here. Anything in red is a principal arterial, other arterials are also identified.
Anyway, who cares about congestion if the road is fast. We can go five miles farther per hour than people in the average city, and thus reach more destinations, and be more productive with our time.
(Yes, this is probably not good for pedestrians).