A local law firm decided to dig into PennDOT crash data to visualize the most dangerous intersections in Allegheny County. The study identifies 787 intersections that had five or more crashes from 2014 to 2016.
Dallas W. Hartman P.C. represents a lot of collision cases, and wanted to raise awareness about areas around the county where drivers are more likely to crash, said attorney Dallas Hartman.
“You know, evidence is that these intersections are very dangerous, and we would like to see somebody go in there and say ‘What can we do to fix this?’”
The study identified the county’s two worst intersections as the West End Bridge at West Carson Street and P.J. McArdle Roadway at the Liberty Bridge, both of which see a lot of daily traffic.
A higher volume of traffic often means a higher number of crashes, said Todd Kravits, a traffic engineer with PennDOT’s District 11. In the case of the West End Bridge intersection, construction on West Carson significantly increased the traffic moving through.
“We were aware of issues,” said Kravits. “However, we couldn’t do much until that construction project was over before we could make changes so we could understand really what the true traffic patterns were going to be and the best way to make those adjustments.”
The study did “raise an eyebrow,” said Kravits, because PennDOT and its partners works hard to monitor and mitigate crashes throughout its entire system. But he said engineering can only do so much.
“Recent studies have shown that upwards of 90 percent of all crashes are taking place today because of behavioral issues,” he said. “Whether it’s texting while driving, driving under the influence, distracted driving.”
In Allegheny County, 2016 was the worst year for crashes in the preceding five-year period, though on the whole crashes in Pennsylvania continue to decline.