Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Performance Measures

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Traveler Delay


About the measure

Twin Cities traveler delay measures the average delay in minutes per weekday per person. Access to key destinations such as jobs, grocery stores, hospitals, and schools can also be used to understand the multimodal network impacts. Measuring traveler delay helps track the amount of delay people experience with the goal of keeping it to reasonable levels.

Incident clearance times represent the total time from the report of an incident to the time the last vehicle clears the roadway. The measure can vary depending on the response time of MnDOT’s Freeway Incident Response Safety Team (FIRST) trucks, State Patrol, emergency services, and tow trucks. It can also depend on severity and frequency of incidents.

Recent trends

Between 2016 and 2019, traveler delay in the Twin Cities metropolitan area averaged 9.5 minutes per weekday. Like with freeway congestion, traveler delay decreased by 46% to 5.3 minutes per weekday in 2020 (the most recent year available). The target of nine minutes per weekday (or 40 hours of annual delay per person) represents about a 5% improvement from 2018 levels.

Incident clearance times have been below the target of 35 minutes since 2010. In 2017, the most recent year available, incidents were cleared in 30.9 minutes.

Where we want to go

Increasing traffic congestion increases fuel usage and emissions, creates a higher risk for crashes, increases shipping costs, and reduces the time available to spend on other activities. Factors that affect congestion include economic conditions and population growth. To ensure reasonable travel time for commuters and travelers and reduce congestion on the interstate highway system, MnDOT currently relies on several strategies including active traffic management (e.g., an advanced system of cameras, loop detectors, and ramp meters), low-cost spot mobility improvements to improve traffic flow, E-Z Pass lanes, and strategic capacity enhancements (e.g., bus-only shoulders, unpriced dynamic shoulder lanes, and interchange capacity improvements). MnDOT also maintains and updates a Statewide Freight System and Investment Plan, a State Rail Plan, and a Statewide Ports and Waterways Plan to advance freight, railway, waterway, and multimodal planning and integration.

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