Need for Proposed Action

Through the use of a travel demand model developed for the area, WATS and SEMCOG developed 2025 traffic projections for the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti metropolitan area, which included the study area. By the year 2025, traffic along US-12 is projected to substantially increase. This increase would result in greater traffic congestion and lower levels of service on US-12 and many of the adjacent cross streets. Crashes are likely to increase due to several factors, including greater traffic density, increased starting and stopping due to this congestion, and a reduction in the number of acceptable gaps available for vehicles attempting to access US-12 from cross streets and driveways.

The need for US-12 improvements is based on four elements: (1) system capacity, (2) system continuity, (3) roadway safety, and (4) study area growth and economic development.

System Capacity - US-12 currently carries large volumes of traffic. At the western end of the study area, the Visteon plant (formerly the Ford Motor Company facility) and other industries are major traffic generators. US-12 also links many residential developments in the study area. Moreover, planned subdivisions along the corridor are developing rapidly. As a result, the US-12 corridor currently carries between 22,000 and 32,000 vehicles per day over much of its length. In the past two decades, traffic on US-12 has increased about 46 percent overall, and up to 70 percent at some intersections in the study area. Future US-12 traffic volumes for Year 2025 range between 34,000 and 52,000 vehicles per day (more than 47 percent increase over current traffic volumes). Traffic volumes are highest in the western and eastern portions of US-12 and near the interchange of US-12 and US-23.

Improvements are needed to improve the capacity of US-12 so that it will meet current and projected travel demands. Six levels of service (LOS), designated by the letters A through F, define a roadway's operating conditions, which are based on factors such as number and types of lanes, signal timing, traffic volumes, and pedestrian activity. LOS A represents the best operating conditions and LOS F represents the worst conditions. During peak travel demand, US-12 currently operates at the LOS E and F throughout most of the study area, and is expected to worsen as traffic increases in the future. The preferred LOS for the segment of US-12 under study operates at a LOS C in the year 2025.

System Continuity - US-12, from Saline to Munger Road, runs in a northeast/southwest direction, providing a direct link between the cities of Saline and Ypsilanti. US-12 intersects with State/Moon Road, Platt Road, and Carpenter Road, and an interchange provides access to US-23. All of these roadways are major north-south routes providing access to Ann Arbor. In addition, US-23 is a major access road south to Toledo and the northern Ohio region. US-12 also intersects with Interstate 94 immediately east of the study area, a major east-west thoroughfare connecting Detroit and Chicago. East of the study area, US-12 passes through Ypsilanti and continues into Detroit. Improvements to US-12 are necessary in order to enhance the roadway's function in relation to other major roadways that serve this area. The study area contains the only two-lane segment of US-12 between Saline and Detroit. Beyond the study area to the east and west, US-12 becomes a five-lane roadway.

Roadway Safety - MDOT conducted a three year (1996-1999) safety review and crash analysis on US-12 between Industrial Park Drive and Munger Road. Study results showed that crash rates in the study area exceed the statewide and MDOT region rates for similar roadways. All roadway improvements will increase the safety for motorists using US-12. National studies have shown that implementing a multi-lane roadway reduces crash rates by 19 to 35 percent.

Study Area Growth and Economic Development - Pittsfield Township has experienced and continues to experience extensive residential, industrial and commercial development. The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) projects a 97 percent increase in Township population between 2000 and 2025. Employment in the study area is also expected to increase significantly (50 percent during the same time period), due to existing and planned industrial and commercial projects in the Township. Housing projections closely parallel the population growth. Improvements to US-12 are needed to accommodate this growth and economic development within south central Washtenaw County.

The preceding information represents the most current information available with regard to regional population and employment growth, existing and projected traffic volumes on US-12, Level of Service, and safety.