County traffic counts heating up in some key intersections

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Traffic in Collin County is growing right along with the population and, in many cases, passing it by.

We sorted through more than 60 traffic count locations from the Texas Department of Transportation, to compare the agency's annual average daily traffic (AADT) counts in 2010 and 2015, and found that the average growth rate came to 19 percent. The population growth rate for the county in the same timeframe was 14 percent.

Click on the maps for a larger view.

In some spots, the traffic increase was much greater. Naturally, many freeway and toll road counting locations saw dramatic increases in sheer numbers:

  • Just west of Preston Road (SH 289) in Frisco on the Sam Rayburn Tollway (SH 121) daily traffic increased from 89,000 to 148,000 in five years – a 40-percent hike;
  • U.S. 75 at Legacy Drive in Plano increased by 53,000 cars a day from 2010, with a 243,151 daily traffic count in 2015; and, 
  • Just north of the U.S. 75/S.H. 121 interchange in Melissa, average traffic jumped by 21,000 a day, a 31-percent increase.​

(To be clear, this was not a professional traffic study done by engineers, but a simple look at the number of AADT increases and decreases at the same TxDOT counting stations. You can view the map​s and data here.)

Many of these increases would be expected as major freeway construction and widening projects over the last few years finish their work.

Roadways feeding into the big highways have also increased significantly in many spots:

  • Traffic counts on F.M. 2478 (Custer Road), south of U.S. 380 in McKinney, saw an increase of almost 49 percent in these five years, from 11,500 a day to more than 23,000 a day. This was the largest increase we spotted in our comparisons;
  • And just down the road on U.S. 380, near the Preston Road intersection, a similar jump of 10,000 cars a day resulted in a 45-percent hike;
  • Up the spine of U.S. 75 in McKinney and Anna, increases ranged from 31 percent to 44 percent, with hotspots drawing 19,000-21,000 extra vehicles each day;
  • In Lucas, Main Street at F.M. 1378 (both two-lane roadways) grew by almost 3,000 vehicle a day, or about a third. West Lucas Road and F.M. 2551 (Angel Parkway) grew by 4,000 vehicles a day;
  • Just outside of McKinney on the way to Princeton, U.S. 380 and New Hope Road saw more than 4,800 additional vehicles a day; and, 
  • In east Plano, at 14th Street and Murphy Road saw increases of 4,000-5,000 vehicles a day on the east and west sides of the busy intersection.

Of the 60 locations we looked over, only six showed modest decreases in daily traffic, three of which were in Wylie and Lavon along U.S. 78 as widening project kicked in; two on S.H. 5 in McKinney, and the other in Melissa at S.H. 5 and S.H. 121.

The U.S. Census Bureau doesn't spend a whole of time on traffic patterns, but they do offer some insight on commuting in Collin County.

Since 2010, mean travel time to work in the county has increased slightly from 27.8 minutes to 28.2 minutes. Other data also show little or no significant change in how we get to work:

About 82 percent of all workers 16 and older – some 438,000-plus folks in 2015 -- drive alone to work. About seven percent carpooled with one or more people, with an equal number claiming to work at home, and three percent walked of used a bicycle to get to work. That was double the number who claimed to take public transportation to work.

From our Tax Assessor and Collector's office, vehicle registrations since 2010 have climbed by more than 118,000, with almost 900,000 vehicles registered in Collin County by the end of 2016. Mark that against a population growth of 157,244 in the same period. 

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