Traffic study shows change in driving trends

The Woodlands Development Company has released its annual traffic count study, which is a 24-hour survey conducted by Atkins Engineering that counts how many vehicle pass through more than 80 points throughout The Woodlands and nearby roads.

The study shows a trend towards increased vehicle trips on roadways in the northern segment of The Woodlands, including along FM 1488.

Robert Heineman, vice president of planning for The Woodlands Development Company, said more cars are utilizing FM 1488 since the thoroughfare's expansion to five lanes, which includes a center turn lane.

"[FM 1488] is a little bit faster than Hwy. 242," Heineman said. "It's a little bit faster and a little bit shorter."

According to the study, 4,930 more vehicles were counted at FM 1488 west of Hwy. 242 than in 2011, and 10,909 more vehicles were counted at FM 1488 west of FM 2978.

Despite Kuykendahl Road not extending all the way to FM 1488, traffic counts along that roadway through the northern segment of The Woodlands are increasing exponentially. Heineman said drivers are utilizing Alden Bridge Drive to connect with the northernmost segment of Kuykendahl, which then connects to FM 1488, the location of the newest H-E-B location in The Woodlands.

The Atkins study shows that 6,507 more drivers utilized that route in 2012 than in 2011.

One segment that saw a significant decrease in traffic is the flyover at I-45 North and Woodlands Parkway. In 2011, 65,466 vehicle trips were counted, compared to 61,488, or 3,978 less in 2012.

Heineman said that the completion of the Research Forest extension and improved turn lanes at Sawdust Road were likely the cause of the traffic decrease.

"Now [the Research Forest expansion] is finished and people are moving up there," he said. "But the northbound to westbound turn late is still a problem."

With 49,222 vehicle trips counted in 2012, the intersection of I-45 northbound and Research Forest is one the second busiest in The Woodlands. The I-45/Woodlands Parkway flyover is the most traveled.


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