A study released Friday by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute analyzes congested roadways and ranks one of Killeen’s roads at No. 486 out of 1,783 roadway sections in the state.
U.S. Highway 190/Central Texas Expressway from Willow Springs Road to East Stan Schlueter Loop was the top congested road in Killeen, according to the study.
TTI research scientist David Schrank said 25 urban regions with populations greater than 50,000 and metropolitan planning organizations were selected for the study.
“What we took away, especially in smaller regions, is delay and congestion is relative with other areas,” Schrank said. “Being late to a Little League game in Killeen is no different than being late to one in Houston. Even though congestion doesn’t seem as bad, it has the same side effects.”
Topping the list as the worst congested roadway is Interstate 610 West Loop in Houston. Interstate 35 in Austin and the Southwest Freeway in Houston round out the top three.
Factored into the data from the study are cost estimates based on wasted time and fuel for passenger and commercial vehicles, Schrank said.
Stan Schlueter Loop from South
Clear Creek Road/State Highway 201 to Central Texas Expressway received an annual congestion cost of $14.15 million, according to the study.
A Texas congestion index looks at peak driving times in morning and evening rushes along roadways.
A planning time index looks at the worst or longest amount of time budgeted along those segments compared to driving them when there are no traffic lights or incidents in the area.
Schrank said bad weather days, or crashes and construction also are factored in.
Researchers analyzed roadway inventory and traffic volume information from the Texas Department of Transportation along with speed data from private-sector source INRIX to produce this year’s list, TTI spokesman Bernie Fette said.
Waco District TxDOT spokesman Ken Roberts said it takes communication, interaction and metropolitan organizations to look at long-term solutions to identify what can be done in response to traffic congestion on roadways.
Lots of growth
Current construction in the area is a response to significant growth in the past 10 to 15 years with troop sizes, new housing and businesses, he said.
Projects from U.S. 190 through Killeen to Temple and from Copperas Cove to Harker Heights are underway to increase the capacity of vehicles exiting the roadway for a safer, more efficient flow of traffic, Roberts said.
In the future, Roberts said cultural shifts, other modes of transportation, technology and individual responsibility should be factored in.
“There is no one answer,” Roberts said. “But in the meantime, we’re doing everything that we can as a responsible steward of our state’s resources to be good partners and to address the transportation needs in our area.”
Killeen Mayor Scott Cosper, who has served on TxDOT’s policy board since 2000, said projects are prioritized while taking an approach to move traffic for the next 30 years.
Improving the intersection at Trimmier and Central Texas Expressway, with a center turn lane at Trimmier, is one example to improve safety and capacity for motorists, Cosper said.
“We are regionally and locally constantly looking at ways to improve intersections that might be bottlenecks,” Cosper said.
Killeen spokeswoman Hilary Shine said local road projects are among the goals in the city’s strategic plan.
“Killeen works diligently with (Fort Hood), the region and the state to create a transportation network that can service the amount of traffic in the Killeen and Fort Hood area,” Shine said.
There are constant efforts to improve signals and synchronization to improve traffic flow during peak hours, she said.
The city has commissioned a thoroughfare master plan update that will capture current infrastructure and plan for future needs, Shine said.
View the complete study at http://mobility.tamu.edu/most-congested-texas/