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Traffic and Safety Analysis
Prepared by West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) for the Corridor H Mediation Process

WV Route 55 Upgrade -
Wardensville, WV to VA State Line



Introduction

Why Was This Analysis Prepared?

  • This traffic and safety analysis was prepared by WVDOT as part of the Corridor H mediation process, in response to questions raised by some of the participants in that process.

Why Is It Being Released Now?

  • During the mediation, WVDOT was prohibited by court order from publicly releasing this information.
  • The mediation resulted in a Settlement Agreement, which allows construction of Corridor H to move forward.
  • The Settlement Agreement requires that the traffic and safety data developed during the mediation be publicly released.



Background
What is the "WV 55 Upgrade?"

The WV 55 Upgrade is an alternative that was considered during the Corridor H mediation process. It involved completing Corridor H as a combination of four-lane and two-lane sections, as follows:

  • Four lanes from Elkins to Wardensville
  • Two lanes from Wardensville to the Virginia state line (on WV 55)

The settlement agreement that does not require WVDOT to study or construct the WV 55 Upgrade alternative.

  • Instead, it postpones construction of the Wardensville-to-Virginia section of Corridor H for 20 years, or until certain conditions are met – e.g., traffic on WV 55 reaches ?Level of Service E.?



Study Scenarios
1999 Existing, 2013 No-Build, and 2013 Modified Build

This study evaluated the traffic and safety conditions on WV 55 between Wardensville and Virginia under three different scenarios:

  • 1999 Existing: reflects current conditions on WV 55 at the time of the study;
  • 2013 No-Build: reflects future conditions on WV 55 if the road network remains unchanged; and
  • 2013 Modified Build: reflects future conditions on WV 55 if the WV 55 Upgrade is implemented between Wardensville and Virginia, while the rest of Corridor H is completed as a four-lane highway.



Types of Traffic Data
Average Daily Traffic (ADT), Level of Service (LOS)


For each scenario, two types of traffic data were collected:

  • Average Daily Traffic (ADT): This measurement reflects the total number of vehicles (i.e., traffic volume) on a section of roadway each day.
  • Level of Service (LOS): This measurement reflects the level of traffic congestion on a section of roadway. At LOS ?A,? traffic is free-flowing; at LOS ?F,? it is severely congested. LOS ?D? is generally considered the lowest acceptable level of service.

What this data means:

  • For a given section of roadway, any increase in traffic volume (ADT) generally reduces the level of service (LOS).
  • Similarly, if traffic volume (ADT) remains constant, any expansion of the road?s capacity generally improves the level of service (LOS).



Types of Safety Data
Accident and Injury Rates; Comparison to Corridor H

Two types of accident and injury data were provided:

  • Rates: This measurement reflects the rate of accidents and injuries per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
  • Totals: This measurement reflects the total number of accidents or injuries on a section of roadway in a given year.

The accident and injury data for four-lane sections of Corridor H were estimated in two ways:

  • Conservative Estimate: Assumes the accident rate for Corridor H is equivalent to the statewide average for four-lane rural principal arterials (88 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled).
  • Realistic Estimate: Assumes the accident rate for Corridor H is equivalent to the rate for previously completed sections of Corridor H (63 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled).



Average Daily Traffic (ADT)
Traffic Volume on WV 55






Level of Service (LOS)
Traffic Congestion on WV 55







Accidents and Injuries
Safety on WV 55

Conservative Estimates: In these charts, the accident rate the continuous four-lane Corridor H is assumed to be equal to the statewide average for 4-lane rural principal arterials in the 1995-1997 time period (88 accidents/100 MVMT).







Realistic Estimates: In these charts, the accident rate the continuous four-lane Corridor H is assumed to be equal to the average for completed sections of Corridor H in the 1995-1997 time period (63 accidents/100 MVMT).







Conclusions

  • Today, traffic volumes on WV 55 between Wardensville and the Virginia line are relatively low, but – because of the poor quality of the roadway – the levels of service are approaching unacceptable levels.
  • If Corridor H is not built, traffic volumes on WV 55 between Wardensville and the Virginia state line will gradually increase. The increasing traffic volume would further reduce levels of service, while gradually increasing the number of accidents and injuries on WV 55.
  • If Corridor H is built, except for the portion between Wardensville and the Virginia state line, traffic volumes on that portion of WV 55 would increase dramatically. The increasing traffic volume would dramatically reduce levels of service on WV 55, while sharply increasing the number of accidents and injuries on WV 55.



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