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Does anybody know what the recent traffic counts along the different sections or subsections of Beltway 8 are? Are there any free resources that provide traffic counts for other Houston roadways?

Also, how is the traffic coming along so far on the new Westpark Tollway. I assume it has not had the potential to grow due to lack of completion west of the Beltway. Any thoughts on this? its financial feasibility, and general convenience to westside travelers?

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Does anybody know what the recent traffic counts along the different sections or subsections of Beltway 8 are?  Are there any free resources that provide traffic counts for other Houston roadways?

HCTRA keeps daily statistics on the traffic count. I don't know if they generally provide the statistics to the public. They gladly provided me the data when I was working on the Houston Freeways book.

As for the Westpark Tollway, traffic has been very light when I used it. I also take a look down the corridor when crossing it on the Southwest Freeway. Lately it seems like there are more cars on the tollway, but vehicles are still sparse.

I'm surprised by the light traffic. Due to the lack of a freeway alternative, I thought there would be more traffic. The high toll probably has something to do with it. Over time I expect traffic to increase steadily, but I'm sure HCTRA would have preferred substantial traffic right out of the gate.

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I drove down Westpark Dr. the other day parallel to the tollway and it does seem that tollway traffic is increasing. I think part of the issue with the tollway, besides the high tolls, is the fact that the tollway still is far from complete. The fiasco with the interchange at the West Sam Houston Tollway is also keeping traffic down. I think once that interchange finally fully opens it will generate more traffic for the Westpark Tollway, as motorists won't have to go through some crazy detours to get on the new tollway from the Sam Houston. Right now getting on the inbound Westpark from Westchase (especially areas west of the beltway) or the Sam Houston southbound is a mess - by the time you drive all the way down to Gessner and Westpark is it really worth the toll to shave a couple of minutes off the trip to 59?

I think once the Westpark Tollway is open all the way out to the Cinco Ranch/Grand Lakes area, and construction on the Katy inside the Beltway heats up, more and more people will choose the Westpark Tollway for their commute.

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Here is something I found on the ABC site:

Feb. 14, 2005

The Automobile Association of America today released a report on the nation's worst traffic areas:

The 101/405 Interchange, Los Angeles

The 710 Freeway, Los Angeles

The Reagan Memorial Tollway/Eisenhower Expressway Exchange, Chicago

The "Mix Master," Dallas

The 520 Bridge, Seattle

The Downtown Connector, Atlanta

The I-495/270 Interchange, Washington, D.C.

Interstate 93 Out of the Hub, Boston

Major Interchanges, Salt Lake City

George Washington Bridge Exit, New York City

NOTE: Houston is not on it.

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I agree with 27, the traffic in Houston is bad at all. The city just has some choke point at some major interchanges dealing with merging lanes. The Beltway/Katy, Westloop/Katy, and Westloop/US59 interchanges are being adjusted to handle the traffic.

I agree that US 290 is the last major freeway that is undersized.

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Houston's not on that list because our traffic has gotten better over the years. Almost all of the freeways we drive on today have been built since 1985, mainly because of the really horrible traffic that existed in the 1970s and 1980s. The old Southwest Freeway was notoriously bad - possibly worse than the Katy is now in some areas - and reconstruction of it didn't start until about 1989. Until the late 1990s when the current Eastex Freeway was completed it was only two lanes in each direction for most of its route, and it was plauged by one of the longest, most delayed freeway construction programs in the state's history. Many of the freeways and interchanges on that list are first-generation freeways that have never been replaced or expanded.

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And currently TxDOT's major initiative the larger metropolitan areas (Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin) is to primarily reconfigure interchanges. Just look at the West loop. The stretch between the Southwest Freeway and the Katy Freeway will not have any new lanes. Just a few new merge areas and better reconfigured exits. The stacks at US 59 and I-10 are just being reconfigured for easing congestion through the interchange. This is just a better planning for the freeways we have. The next two freeways that will see major construction in the future is US 290 Northwest Freeway and the I-45 from Beltway 8 to I-10. Some proposals for I-45 are creating concepts that are being built into the Katy Freeway. They are proposing to remove the HOV lanes and add managed lanes. I-45 itself will remain 8 lanes (4 in each direction).

I have really know complaints about Houston's traffic. TxDOT and Metro seems to address all significant issues. I believe the westpark tollway will become heavily used once the major reconstruction within the Beltway on the Katy begins. And metro's park and ride services actually compare very well against other metropolitan rail lines. Metro beat Dalla's DART system in passeger count. It also beats Atlanta's MARTA system.

Although it may seem primative to use buses and alotted lanes for mass transit instead of a rail system, it still works quite well.

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