Yep, traffic in the Twin Cities has gotten worse - Bring Me The News

Yep, traffic in the Twin Cities has gotten worse

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If traffic seems like it's worse, you're not imaging anything.

Congestion (defined as traffic going speeds less than 45 miles per hour) on freeways in the Twin Cities has gotten worse, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Metropolitan Freeway System Congestion Report.

The report, which was released Tuesday, found 23.4 percent of Twin Cities freeways were congested in 2015 – that's up from 21.1 percent in 2014.

Here's a breakdown of the areas that experience the highest congestion rates on a daily basis. The black on the map below (centered around where Interstate 94 and Interstate 35W meet) shows there are more than seven hours of congestion every day.

 (Photo: MnDOT)

(Photo: MnDOT)

Why is traffic so bad?

A lot can lead to congestion, including the local economy, population growth, gas prices, transit ridership and the number of miles drivers travel in the vehicle.

Here's a look at how traffic congestion has changed over the years:

 (Photo: MnDOT)

(Photo: MnDOT)

To figure out congestion percentages on the 758 miles of Twin Cities freeways, MnDOT uses data from surveillance detectors in the roads and field observations during the month of October (the month that has the most typical traffic patterns – school is back in session, summer road construction is usually over and weather conditions are "generally favorable"), the report says.

Congestion isn't going to get any better

And the time you spend in your car isn't going to get any shorter.

The graph above shows the percentage of congested roads in the Twin Cities is expected to grow, in part because of MnDOT's "limited resources," increasing construction costs, an increase in the number of miles people drive, and improving economic conditions, the report says.

“Congestion in metropolitan areas is often inescapable,” Brian Kary, MnDOT freeway operations engineer, said in a news release. “We try to strike a reasonable balance between existing road capacity and the demand for roads by managing traffic particularly at peak-travel times.”

MnDOT has a plan to help address traffic concerns and other transportation issues on the Minnesota Go website here.

For the latest traffic conditions, click here.

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