Traffic analysis shows accident hotspots in Jefferson City
Of more than 7,000 traffic accidents in the Capital Region Metropolitan Planning Organization area from 2013 to 2017, 42% occurred in nine specific areas of the city, including two sections of Missouri Boulevard and several highway intersections.
While the CAMPO area includes outlying communities like Holts Summit, St. Martins, Taos and Wardsville, the traffic accident analysis report presented to CAMPO’s technical committee on Thursday focused on the Jefferson City area, where the majority of traffic incidents occurred.
Data for the report was provided by the Missouri Department of Transportation with assistance from the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Lee Bowden, transportation planner for Jefferson City, said the report is meant to move discussions forward, not necessarily to present solutions.
“It’s just about bringing information to the (committee) so that we can bring a discussion to the table, eventually, to see what we can do,” Bowden said.
From 2013 to 2017 (the most recent data available), there were 7,738 traffic accidents in the CAMPO region. In 2013, the lowest number was 1,470, while 2016 peaked as high as 1,690. Bowden said the Highway Patrol attributed the rise to the drop in gasoline prices, resulting in a higher large number of drivers on the road.
The number fell to 1,528 in 2017.
Despite the lowest accident rate, 2013 saw the most serious injuries per year to 76. That number has decreased every year, and by 2017 it had fallen to 42.
The year 2015 was tied with 2016 for the number of fatalities per year at eight each, while 2013 had five, 2014 had seven and 2017 had six, for a total of 34 fatalities in five years.
The MoDOT fatality rate target is just over 1 per 100 million vehicle kilometers. Due to the small size of the CAMPO region, the fatality rate per vehicle-mile traveled during this period was 285 per 100 million.
Rear ends accounted for about 30 percent of all crashes, followed by out-of-control crashes, which are often speed-related at around 18.4 percent, right-angle crashes at around 8.6 percent and at right angle at about 7.3 percent.
A right angle crash describes two vehicles meeting at a right angle, where one collides with the other on the side.
While rear-end crashes are the most common, right-angle and left-hand collisions are the most concerning and often the most serious, Bowden said.
With the data provided, they can only identify the locations of accidents, not the direction of movement of vehicles or other factors.
The report broke down traffic accidents into nine specific areas of the city: the Missouri River Bridge; part of US 50/63 from US 54 to Lafayette Street; the three-level intersection of US 50, US 63, and US 54; part of Missouri Boulevard from Stoneridge Parkway at US 50; another part of Missouri Boulevard from Country Club Drive to Stoneridge Parkway; Jefferson Street and US 54; Ellis Boulevard and US 54; US 50 and Dix Road; and Truman Boulevard and US 50.
The areas with the most accidents were the two sections of Missouri Boulevard, US 50/63 from US 54 to Lafayette Street, and the bridge.
The area with the most accidents over the past five years was the stretch of Missouri Boulevard between Stoneridge Parkway and US 50, which recorded 927 accidents, or just over 12% of all accidents. This section of Missouri Boulevard receives about 46,000 vehicles daily, according to the report.
The majority of crashes were rear end collisions – 367 – but there was also a large portion of right angle left turn collisions – 164.
Collisions on this stretch of road resulted in 19 accidents with serious injuries, including three fatalities; 248 accidents with some injuries; and 679 accidents with damage to vehicles only.
Bowden went further into the accident sites along Missouri Boulevard, identifying several sections of road and smaller intersections where accidents often occurred.
The intersections of US 50/63, Dix Road, Blair Drive and Southwest Boulevard have had clusters of accidents. Two fatal accidents occurred around the intersection of Boulevard Sud-Ouest, including one involving a pedestrian.
Almost half of all serious injuries on this stretch of road are caused by left-turn accidents, according to the report.
Another part of Missouri Boulevard, from Country Club Drive to Stoneridge Parkway, which sees just over 33,000 vehicles per day, has been listed as the site of 432 crashes, making it the third highest. About 5.6 percent of all accidents in the CAMPO area occur in this section of the road.
This section saw 180 rear-end accidents, 66 right-angle left-turn collisions and 47 left-turn accidents. Six accidents resulted in serious injuries, including a pedestrian, and 111 accidents resulted in some injuries.
US 54 at Lafayette Street
The portion of US 50/63 between US 54 and Lafayette Street had the second highest number of crashes with 572, accounting for about 7.3% of the total.
This stretch of road serves as a focal point for US 50 and US 63 and includes several stop lights that prevent continuous movement. Average daily traffic is around 43,000 vehicles.
About half of all crashes in this section are rear-end crashes, with right-angle crashes at around 20 percent and left-hand crashes at around 8 percent.
There were also four pedestrian accidents on this stretch of road, causing two serious injuries.
Missouri River Bridge
The bridge across the Missouri River just outside of Jefferson City was the site of the fourth highest number of accidents – 352, or about 4.5% of all accidents in the CAMPO area – for less than 2 miles of road.
The bridge includes the convergence of two main highways – US 54 and US 63 – making it one of the most congested roads in the region, according to the report. Traffic counts show that just over 53,000 cars cross per day.
More than half of the accidents on the bridge were dead ends. The second highest number of uncontrollable accidents is around 27%. The bridge has one of the highest numbers of overtaking accidents, with around 7 percent caused by overtaking.
Due to congestion levels and the number of accidents, the bridge is the main area of focus of the report and is No. 1 on CAMPO’s illustrative projects list in the Metropolitan Transportation Plan, according to the report.