After our story last week about what streets have the most traffic accident in Evanston, readers asked how the rankings might change if the figures were adjusted for the volume of traffic on each street.

Thanks to traffic volume numbers provided by Sat Nagar of the city’s Public Works Agency, we have answers.

The chart above takes the number of accidents on each street in 2018 provided by the Police Department, and divides it by the average daily traffic volume on each street provided by the Public Works Agency times 365 days in a year, then multiplies the result by two to account for an assumption that the typical accident involves two cars.

The chart then expresses the result as your chance of being involved in an accident per 100,000 trips on a particular street.

It’s worth noting that there may be a few oddities in the data. For example the traffic volume data for Howard Street counts traffic on both sides of the street that forms the border between Evanston and Chicago, while the accident data only counts accidents on the street handled by Evanston police — which may only be about half the total.

We also only gathered traffic volume data for the dozen streets with the highest number of accidents. So it’s possible that some other streets with fewer total accidents but low traffic volumes might rank higher in the relative risk calculation if they were included.

Here’s the accidents chart from last week’s story:

As you can see, adding traffic volume to the calculation does change the rank order of streets, but Ridge Avenue still appears to be the riskiest, and Sheridan the safest among the dozen streets studied.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Ridge north and south of Emerson

    Ridge Avenue south of Emerson is 4 very narrow lanes. Ridge Avenue north of Emerson is 2 normal width lanes. Does Evanston have separate statistics for Ridge Avenue both south and north of Emerson?

    1. Ridge

      Hi Dan,

      The traffic volume numbers for Ridge were between 15,000 and 20,000 cars per day. It wasn’t specified at what locations those counts were taken. I averaged those two numbers for the purpose of the story.

      Given that the tallies of accident reports don’t provide good enough data to reliably determine where on the street the accidents are happening, I think trying to adjust for variations in traffic volumes on different sections of the street at this point wouldn’t get us anywhere.

      The Police Department’s hope is to be able to provide more detailed data on accident locations starting sometime next year. At that point more detailed traffic volume data could be helpful in refining the risk analysis.

      — Bill

  2. Traffic accidents

    Is it possible to ask the “powers that be” regarding spending money on Ridge Avenue traffic lights to plan observations of the unsignalled cross streets?  I travel on Ridge from Howard to Central every weekday and see near-accidents and turn violations EVERY DAY.  There are intersections that are marked with turn directions that are ignored regularly, causing near-accidents and backing up traffic.  Other intersections have multiple cars trying to cross all 4 lanes of traffic on Ridge during busy commuter hours.  The signalled intersections are NOT the problem on Ridge.

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