Washtenaw Area Transportation Study (WATS) released a map yesterday showing intersections with the highest number of traffic accidents including several in the Ann Arbor area.
Approximately 1,000 people die each year from automobile accidents in the State of Michigan. The number continues to grow as the economy improves. Human error is the number one contributing factor in auto accidents but other factors include congestion, alternative transportation modes, and changing design standards eventually render infrastructure functionally outdated as an area develops.
Crashes are a critical indicator for transportation agencies when this happens. These high frequency traffic conflicts allow engineers and planners to identify problem areas.
WATS said on their website that “the process of using crash data to justify improvements, to mitigate human error, remains an important part of developing a safer roadway system. WATS uses crash location data, which has improved with time and technology, to identify problem road segments and intersections and provides this data to local safety engineers for problem solving.”
The map below shows locations identified as priority crash intersections and problem road segments based on five years of crash data. The maps use a SEMCOG crash analysis which groups facilities by type, ranks them by crash frequency, and selects the top 5 percent. WATS removed locations where only one crash occurred in the five year period. This analysis is a high level data-based review, and is only meant to inform projects as they are developed, rather than dictate needs. Each road segment is different, and there may be many confounding factors that lead to a higher crash rate on specific segments.
WATS is a multi-jurisdictional agency responsible for transportation planning in Washtenaw County. The agency is mandated by Federal law to provide a continuing, cooperative and comprehensive transportation planning process, which guides the expenditure of state and federal transportation funds in Washtenaw County.
WATS annually establishes project priorities for consideration by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) when programming transportation funds. In addition, WATS continually monitors the current condition of the county’s transportation system, including roads, bicycle and pedestrian paths, bridges, and public transit.