If access—entrances to businesses or homes, street connections, and median openings—along county roads is poorly planned and managed, increased congestion and safety concerns arise.
To make the best decisions on where to locate and how to design access points to keep drivers safe and traffic moving, Dakota County’s Transportation Department has guidelines and standards in place. These guidelines and standards come from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Well-planned access means safety for drivers
Each access point creates the potential for a collision as traffic slows down to turn or as cars exit driveways onto roads. According to the Transportation Resource Board, an increase from 10 access points per mile to 20 access points per mile can increase the crash rate along the road by up to 30 percent and will continue to rise as additional access points are added.
By planning and managing access along county roads, Dakota County can minimize the opportunities for crashes to occur, while still making sure drivers get where they need to go.
Well-planned access decreases congestion
The more opportunities there are to turn off of a roadway, the slower traffic moves. Research shows that roads with well-designed access points operate at speeds 15-20 miles per hour faster than roads with poorly designed and located access. This lowers congestion and driver frustration. Fewer roadway delays and better traffic flow make it easier for drivers to get to adjacent businesses.
Safe, easy access is a good plan for business
Customers expect to be able to get in and out of businesses easily from roadways. Poorly designed and located entrances and exits present safety issues and can dissuade customers from visiting.