The Capital Region's vehicle arteries

capital region traffic density mapbox

Map gawking: Check out this map of traffic volumes on major roads around the Capital Region. It's like an angiogram of the area's vehicle arteries.

The map is a clip from a national map created by Mapbox using data from the federal Highway Performance Monitoring System and OpenStreetMap. Here's a zoomable version over at the Mapbox site.

The data is limited to roadways, marked in yellow, that are eligible for federal aid. The wider the yellow line, the higher the daily average volume.

The relative volumes probably won't be much of a surprise -- you know, it's not unexpected that I-90 through Albany and I-87 from Albany north to Saratoga County are the most-traveled arteries (each averages more than 100,000 vehicles per day).

But one thing that did strike us about the map is the way it highlights the degree to which the Capital Region sprawls northward much more than any other direction. We've always been a little curious why areas such as, say, southern Rensselaer County and southern Albany County haven't been built up like southern Saratoga County.

[via @omarjpeters]

Earlier on AOA: The busiest Thruway exits

Comments

I've often wondered why most development has been to the north as well. If I was to guess, I would think that the two biggest contributors are the following:

- Terrain: Southern Saratoga County is generally much flatter than Southern Albany and Rensselaer Counties, thus easier to develop. In Albany County you have the Helderbergs, and in Rensselaer County are the foothills of the Berkshires and Taconics; as well as the Rensselaer Plateau

- Cost of Travel (i.e. free highways vs. toll highways): More development has most likely occurred in the Northway Corridor because there are no tolls as opposed to along the Thruway. I think most people tend to view the Thruway as a long-distance travel highway rather than a local commuter road.

Just a couple thoughts, but I could be wrong.

@Kman518 - I'd add Saratoga Springs. To me that's a great reason to be north, rather than south, of Albany.

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