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.
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