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Traffic congestion in Summit, adjacent counties, "tolerable" according to AMATS traffic report

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The West Ave entrance to Tallmadge Circle was the third-most congested roadway in the Akron area in 2021, according to a new report from the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study.

While fewer people were on the roads over the past two years due to social distancing and remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic woes have gradually returned in Northeast Ohio.

But an Akron-area traffic report found that while some roads have seen “severe” congestion, most of the traffic in 2021 was “tolerable.”

The Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) monitored hundreds of roadways in Summit and Portage counties, as well as several townships, last year and analyzed the severity of congestion.

The I-271 southbound off-ramp to State Route 8 in Macedonia was the most congested roadway, according to the report, with peak times between the afternoon drive-time from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Of the 23 roadways that experienced “severe” congestion in the report, 5 involved Tallmadge Circle in Tallmadge.

E Bartges St through the S Main St interchange in Akron was the second-most congested roadway in the report.

The report also found that the majority of traffic congestion in the region studied occurred in the Akron area. About 83% of congestion occurred in Summit County, 16.5% in Portage County, and 0.6% congestion in Chippewa and Milton townships in Wayne County, according to the report.

“Most of the existing road network within the AMATS regions satisfactorily handles congestion even during peak periods,” the report states. “There are only 1.07 centerline miles of interstates or freeways that have experienced some form of congestion with zero miles severe congestion.”

The report is the first of its kind from AMATS, which already issues reports on transportation matters, such as traffic crashes. AMATS plans to report findings every year.

AMATS officials plan to use the data to develop recommendations to help abate congestion in some of the most severe areas.

For example, the report recommends workplaces offer remote work, or alternative work hours such as evenings and weekends, to free up roadways from commuter traffic.

From a planning perspective, the report provides some strategies such as extending turning lanes, improving intersections and creating variable speed limits to try to reduce traffic.

Alternative transportation options such as public transit, biking and carpooling are also suggested.

The full congestion report can be found below.