Map Monday: Comparing Safe Routes to Quick Routes in Driving to Work in the Twin Cities Metro

Here’s a map from a recent working paper co-authored by Mengying Cui and board alumnus David Levinson. The analysis, entitled “The Safest Path, analyzing the effects of crash costs on route choice and accessibility,” looks at Twin Cities road data and crash stats.

To make a long story short, crashes are expensive, and there are ways to avoid them that might take a little longer. That’s what we’re looking at here.


Here’s the key map:

Here’s a description of the map:

The differences of work trip flows between using the safest paths and the shortest travel time path are shown more clearly in Figure 2c, in which red lines refer to significant higher trip counts of using the shortest travel time path, while blue lines refer to significant higher trip counts of using the safest path.

Basically, as far as I understand it (and there’s a lot of scary math), the blue roads are ones people would take if they wanted to be safer, and the red ones are those that people would take if they wanted to be riskier-but-faster.

It looks to me like the older highways like 100, 169, and 62 do very poorly according to this analysis. Newer highways like 464/694 and 35E fare better.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.