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COVID-19 Impacts on Speed and Safety for Minnesota Roads and Work Zones

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  09/27/2021


The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in fewer drivers on Minnesota’s roads, but also more speeding and other unsafe behavior. Quantifying these behaviors should help Minnesota’s transportation agencies plan effective countermeasures. Researchers analyzed vehicle volume and speed data from 27 automated traffic recording (ATR) stations and 68 traffic sensor stations from March through December 2020. They compared this information to data from the previous year as well as work zone information from the Minnesota state highway construction projects list and citation rates, and interviews with Minnesota law enforcement. Traffic volumes were lower in 85% of ATR sites and all sensor sites. Speeds were higher overall but varied by month, with speeds in July and April reaching nearly 3% higher. Speeding-related crashes were 2% to 5% higher in five districts, and speeding-related crashes that resulted in serious injuries or fatalities increased 4% to 13% in four districts

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