Chart of the Day: Highway 5 Bridge Traffic Flows

A map of southwestern St. Paul showing how traffic splits up from the bridge.

Map of traffic flows to/from the Minnesota Highway 5 bridge over the Mississippi River.

Here is a map from Saint Paul’s Highway 5 / Shepard Road Access Options Study which uses cellphone tracking data to show traffic flows to/from the MN-5 bridge over the Mississippi River. The bridge carries about 56,000 vehicles per day. The study has the goals of updating infrastructure in the area to:

  • Improve vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian access,
  • Balance traffic volumes between West 7th Street and Shepard Road, and
  • Represent the neighborhood as a gateway into Saint Paul.

Analyzing data like this is just one way they’re planning to do that.

Edgcumbe Road stands out as a major source/sink, accounting for 25% of traffic on the bridge. In the upper-right corner of the map, this shows about 35% of traffic is heading through the study area in the general direction of downtown St. Paul on Shepard Road (15%), Interstate 35E (15%), or West 7th Street itself (5%).

20% of bridge traffic comes from the neighborhood between West 7th and Shepard Road, while 15% heads up Davern Street. Only about 5% heads up Mississippi River Boulevard.

This map doesn’t try to show traffic that never hits the Highway 5 bridge, though it’s possible to get some idea of that by comparing this map to overall traffic in the area—for instance, the chart in this article doesn’t do a good job of showing that Shepard Road typically only carries half as many cars as West 7th does through this area.

About Mike Hicks

Mike Hicks is a computer geek at heart, but has always had interests in transportation and urban planning. A longtime contributor to Wikipedia, he started a blog about trains and other transportation after realizing it had been two decades since he'd first heard about a potential high-speed rail line from Chicago to Minneapolis. Read more at