Thirteen locations in Austin identified as high-crash roadways

Austin Transportation has identified 13 different street sections in the city as high-injury roadways. 

The transportation department says over half of its top priority intersections are on these 13 roadways. 

With more people working from home, the roads in Austin are much less crowded which has led to other unexpected issues. 

"There's been some limited national research seeing what kind of impacts fewer folks on the roads are having. And the number one takeaway has been some higher speeds," said Lewis Leff, a transportation safety officer for the Austin Transportation Department.


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ATD said the difference in speed appears to be causing more deadly crashes. 

"Fatalities are up this year, while serious injuries are significantly down. So there's a variety of complex reasons what we're seeing on the roadways and why we're seeing the outcomes we are. We're going to continue to make progress on reducing those severe crashes that we see too many of," Leff said. 

To help people in Austin be more aware of problem areas, ATD launched the Vision Zero Viewer. The online dashboard and map pinpoint crashes, high injury roadways, and areas where safety improvements could be made.  Already 13 sections have been identified as good candidates for that. 

"There might be some changes where we start to protect some of the left turns that are happening so that we don't have those oncoming conflicts between cars. We're going to see some changes, as far as backplates, to make sure that folks can see which signal is actually on right then," said Leff.  


The Texas Department of Transportation is also looking at areas where safety can be improved. Following a speed study, they lowered the speed limit from 60mph to 55mph on US 290 between Oak Hill and Dripping Springs. 

"Five miles an hour can make a difference. Drivers see the new speed limit, they slow down, they'll have more time to react, and they'll be able to stop their vehicle, if they need to, in a shorter distance," said Brad Wheelis, spokesman for TxDOT

More changes could be on the way there too, but in the meantime, Wheelis gives drivers this advice: 

"We're asking folks to pay attention, obey the speed limit, avoid distractions to help in the street. We have had at least one death on Texas roadways every single day since November 7, 2000. We do not want to mark that 20th anniversary," he said.