The Most Dangerous Intersections in Texas

What are the most dangerous intersections in Texas? Which city has the greatest number of them?

We wanted answers to these questions. So our office worked with data visualization company 1point21 interactive to analyze four years worth of collision data (2012 – 2015) from the Texas Department of Transportation. We sifted through more than 2 million records to find all intersection related accidents as defined by the Texas DoT. 

According the agency, an intersection related crash is: A traffic crash in which the first harmful event both:

  • occurs on an approach to or exit from an intersection, and 
  • results from an activity, behavior or control related to the movement of traffic units through the intersection.

This definition includes intersections of freeways (and their subsequent on-ramps off-ramps and service streets), major thoroughfares and country roads.

With that in mind, we combined, cleaned and parsed the raw DoT data and identified 279 Texas intersections where 48 or more collisions occurred between 2012 and 2015. From that list, we calculated a Danger Score using the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities at each intersection.  

Based on that information, these are the most dangerous intersections in Texas.  

The Most Dangerous Intersections in Texas: Full List

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*Intersections with higher scores are more dangerous than those with lower scores. For more information on the Danger Score, see our methodology.

As you can plainly see from the image below, the intersection of W. Sam Houston Parkway and Bissonet Street is far and away the most dangerous intersection in Texas, leading the way in both total crashes as well as injuries.

Most dangerous intersections in Texas

Each intersection on our list is represented by a circle in the image below. The X axis shows the number of injuries and the Y axis represents the number of crashes. The danger rating is represented by the circle size so the more dangerous the intersection, the larger the circle is.

Which Cities Have the Greatest Number of Dangerous Intersections?

In the chart below, we can see that Houston (82 dangerous intersections), San Antonio (36), Dallas (34), Lubbock (26) and Plano (10) lead the way in total number of dangerous intersections in their cities. Again, each circle represents a dangerous intersection. The larger the circle size of the bubble, the higher danger score that intersection received

Distribution of dangerous intersections in Texas

Houston… we have a problem

Houston Dangerous Intersections Map

Home to the most dangerous intersection  – and thirteen of the top twenty –  as well as the greatest number of dangerous intersections in our study, we wanted to take a closer look at Houston. Whether it’s due to the rapid population growth (the greater Houston area added nearly 500,000 people between 2012 and 2015), the never ending road construction, or a combination of other factors, Houston is in the midst of a traffic crises. And the data shows that it’s only getting worse. The city saw 42 percent increase in intersection related accidents from 2012 to 2015 – going from 21,524 in 2012 to 30,583 in 2015.  You can clearly see the difference below, where we’ve plotted every intersection related car crash in Houston in 2012 compared to 2015.

 

Houston Intersection Accidents 2012 vs 2015

This dramatic increase in intersection related crashes corresponds with a similar uptick of 37 percent in overall motor vehicle crashes in the city.

Methodology and notes: 

  • To calculate our danger score, we weighed each accident at an intersection as 1 point, each injury as 3 points and a fatality each 10 point.

Danger Score Formula: Accident(x1) + Injury(x3) + Fatality(x10) = Danger Score

  • Our figures were pulled from raw Texas Department of Transportation data
  • Accident data is recorded and entered by humans. Humans make errors, use different names for the same street, and do all sorts of other things we have no control over. In many (many, many) cases, there were several slightly different versions of streets in the data. We spent considerable time cleaning and combining theses instances to match them as best as possible.
  • While highway intersections may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of an intersection, including them absolutely shows where the dangerous spots on Texas roads are. Exiting the Sam Houston Parkway at Bissonet? Keep your head on a swivel.

 

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