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Travel study

New transportation data shows that the number one weekday destination in Napa County is Bel Aire Plaza in the city of Napa.

Bel Aire Plaza in the city of Napa appears to be the number one location in Napa County that people head to on a typical weekday.

That comes from the soon-to-be released Traffic Behavior Study done for the Napa Valley Transportation Authority. Local public works officials met Thursday for a preview.

“Big data” is how Kevin Johnson of the consulting group Fehr & Peers described the study method that included tracking movements of 736,000 mobile devices. Results reveal a high-tech picture of where traffic goes in the county.

About 353,000 trips take place on an average spring weekday, the study found. The top trip generators are largely the stuff of daily, local life. They are:

- Bel Aire Plaza at 23,000 trips, 7 percent of the total county trips. Seventy-six percent of the trips come from the city of Napa, with an average trip length of 7.3 miles.

- South Napa Marketplace in the city of Napa at 16,900 trips, 5 percent. Eighty-five percent of the trips come from the city of Napa, with an average trip length of 7.7 miles.

- Downtown Napa at 16,000 trips, 5 percent.

- American Canyon’s Walmart Supercenter at 11,600 trips, 3 percent. About 60 percent of the trips come from outside Napa County, with 45 percent from Vallejo. Thirty-one percent come from American Canyon. The average trip length is 8.5 miles.

- Napa Town Center, city of Napa at 9,500 trips, 3 percent. Napa Town Center historically was the downtown mall, but the study results appear to take in more First Street development. Boundaries were unavailable from transportation officials on Friday.

- Napa Valley College at 7,000 trips, 2 percent.

- Queen of the Valley Medical Center, city of Napa at 5,000 trips or 1 percent.

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- Oxbow district, city of Napa, 3,800 trips, 1 percent. Nineteen percent of the trips come from outside Napa County and 67 percent are from within the city of Napa.

- Napa State Hospital, 3,600 trips, 1 percent.

Sixty-three percent of the trips that start and end in Napa County are less than 5 miles, Johnson said. Thirty-one percent are less than 2 miles.

“These are trips that could be served by transit, biking, walking...there are a lot of short trips in Napa,” he said.

Of those 353,000 total trips on a typical spring weekday, 238,000 begin and end in Napa County, 51,000 are trips out of the county, 52,000 are trips into the county and 12,000 are passing through the county, Johnson said.

Solano County is the number one trip contributor at 28,900 or 55 percent of the total into-county trips. That’s followed by Sonoma County at 9,900 trips, 19 percent; Contra Costa County at 4,300 trips, 8 percent; Alameda County at 2,000 trips, 4 percent and Sacramento County at 1,700 trips, 3 percent.

Trips generated within Napa County average 8.5 miles. Trips involving Napa County and another county average 37 miles.

The data is updating the 2014 Travel Behavior Study. Researchers found more vehicles on the road. Traffic counts at 11 locations grew on average by 3.4 percent, or .7 percent annually.

The biggest increase was 21 percent on Highway 12 in Jameson Canyon. Meanwhile, traffic on Highway 29 north of American Canyon decreased 7 percent. However, the older count was taken in 2013 during the Highway 12 widening project, which changed traffic patterns.

A finished version of the updated Travel Behavior Study should be out in a week or two and is to go to the Napa Valley Transportation Authority (NVTA) Board of Directors in October. Data is to be used for agency transportation planning.

The NVTA Board of Directors in January 2018 approved a $209,000 contract with Fehr & Peers to do the updated study. The study is to identify how many daily trips are associated with visitors, employees and students, where those trips start and end, the predominate modes of travel and times that have the most traffic.

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Napa County Reporter

Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He has worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield.