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Traffic Literature Review: Congestion and Quality of Intersections.

Bass, Patricia

Due to the heavy use of the University corridor and Snelling Avenue, their junction is a key intersection for St Paul. The resulting traffic congestion can be both a burden and a benefit to the Hamline Midway neighborhood. This was brought to the attention of the media in 2006, when the city of St Paul published the Snelling/University Capacity Study, proposing that the level of traffic congestion is high enough, and the level of service of the intersection low enough that action should be taken to increase the transportation capacity there. This study provokes several questions. First, how can an 'acceptable' level of congestion be determined and measured? Also, how can the quality of an intersection be determined? What criteria did the city use, and what alternate criteria exist? These questions can be explored using literature that addresses the two main transportation issues of the neighborhood: traffic congestion and heavily-used intersections. This review addresses traffic congestion first, with literature that determines its effects - both positive and negative -on neighborhoods, residents, and business, as well as methods to measure and rate these effects. Second, the review address intersections by listing the factors that affect users‟ intersection experiences, and the ways these factors can be used to make a measurement of intersection quality. Last, some of the literature reviewed is briefly applied to the St Paul area. This paper provides a context for transportation issues and their connections to the Hamline Midway neighborhood. Background knowledge of congestion and intersections is not only necessary for understanding and responding to city transportation action, but for discovering and pursuing one‟s own transportation goals.

Publication date: 
Conducted on behalf of the Hamline Midway Coalition. Supported by Neighborhood Planning for Community Revitalization (NPCR), a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), University of Minnesota.
31 pp.
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