How Do St. Louisans Deal With Traffic

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. (KTVI) - Dealing with traffic around St. Louis is a headache we all face day to day.  But when it comes to congestion, St. Louis is actually ranked right in the middle.

That’s according to a nationwide traffic study, done every year by Texas A&M Transportation Institute, which pulls data from the 100 largest cities in the U.S.

Now, MODOT is using data from this urban mobility report to find ways to make commutes a bit easier for St. Louis drivers.  

Although commuters know plenty of roads that get backed up, like I-270, MODOT Asst. District Engineer Tom Blair says St. Louis traffic isn’t that bad compared to other cities. He explains, “It’s the way our population is dispersed, and our work is no longer just in one part of the region.”

The study featured a Planning Time Index, which tells drivers how early they should leave to be on time. For a 30 minute drive, according to the report, you need to leave anywhere from roughly 15 to 50 minutes early, depending on how often you need to be perfectly punctual.

The report also cites the number one reason for traffic jams in St. Louis: car accidents, many of them minor, happening often, and at inconvenient times.

Blair says there is actually a state law called “Steer it or Clear it,” that tells drivers what they should do if they get into a wreck.  He explains, “The law says you are supposed to gather yourself, and as quickly and safely as you can, move to a safe location. Don’t stay in the middle of the road, waiting for police officers to show up for a minor fender bender.”  Depending on where you are, that could mean moving the involved cars to the shoulder, to an exit ramp, or nearby parking lot.

All of these statistics are important to William Brewer, Jr., who works for a hauling and delivery company.  He says, “I try to figure out the best route and the quickest route, with the least amount of traffic. That’s the only think you can do these days, otherwise you’re gonna get caught in traffic somewhere, and get held up.”

MODOT suggests other ways to avoid sitting bumper to bumper, including taking public transportation and changing work schedules, if possible, to avoid rush hour.

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