Chart of the Day Part 2: Lane Miles Revisited

Quick follow-up to a comment by fellow writer Adam Froehlig regarding the chart of the day showing lane miles per 10,000 residents. It is a fair claim that outlying counties have plenty or roads and lanes serving farms, many of which are gravel or not up to urban pavement standards. I quick dug into MnDOT’s lane mileage data, filtered by the 7 county metro area, and removed non-incorporated areas contributing to county-wide lane mileage (ie, I only counted miles within cities). I used 2013 population estimates (some had to use 2012) and re-built the chart.

Here are the results:



I separated out Minneapolis, St Paul, and Eden Prairie for comparison. Why Eden Prairie? I don’t know, they’re just a typical 3rd-ring suburb in my mind (and I’ve used them as a comparison before). Adam’s assumption may be true – Carver’s average drops from around 225 lanemiles/10k to just over 120, moving it from last (first?) place to fifth (third?) (?depends how much you like roads I guess).

I would assume both Minneapolis and St Paul numbers do not include alleyways in the total. According to the City of Minneapolis’ snow plowing page, the city has over 400 miles of (1 lane) alleyways. I added that in for reference.

For fun, here’s what the ranked order of counties looks like when you give a bar to each city. Someone cooler than me should make an interactive graphic to roll-over each data point.


Clearly, even within Hennepin County (#2 overall) there is huge variation by municipality. Hope this helps the discussion!

3 thoughts on “Chart of the Day Part 2: Lane Miles Revisited

  1. Jon Commers

    I think this is a fine analysis but it addresses a more specific question than the graphs posted by Brendon Slotterback. This analysis considers the relationship between population and lane miles within incorporated areas. But whether areas are incorporated or not is arbitrary to the fundamental question of how the network operates and how productive is the connected land use.

    I looked at the same data and removed all lane miles except for interstate highways, MN State trunk highways, county state-aid roads, and municipal state aid roads. County roads and others, which provide added access for agricultural uses, were not counted. Using this frame, the range between highest and lowest is still quite significant:

    In lane miles per 10,000 residents, lowest was Ramsey with 38 and Scott was highest with 74.

    In lane miles per $100M in estimated market value, Hennepin was lowest with 3.84 and Scott was highest with 7.74.

    To me the key question is how to increase the productivity of the highway network and the nearby land uses across the seven counties.

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