WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — With hope the pandemic is winding down, new businesses are still popping up in Texoma and the housing market continues to flourish.

Some Texomans are making big plans but before doing so, there’s another factor TxDOT officials say you should consider.

Traffic. We deal with it every day. Whether that’s a steady flow or a standstill.

“If we see a road that’s getting just too much traffic and the level of service for motorists is just going down, those traffic counts can help us predict what’s happening now or in the future so that we can add capacity, add an extra lane or two or build a reliever route just a block or two away,” TxDOT Public Information Officer Adele Lewis said.

TxDOT hires contractors to use cameras or sensors in the road to count traffic.

This year is one for highways and FM roads where the counters can even tell what kind of vehicle you’re in.

“We know where our truck routes are, where our heaviest vehicles are, where our buses are rolling around to and that helps with planning for the future and also making adjustments immediately if we see bad things happening,” Lewis said.

It’s also an important tool for businesses.

Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce CEO Henry Florsheim sees firsthand how vital location is for future businesses.

“How many people are going to drive in front of these three sites that I’ve picked out and providing that information helps them evaluate and decide which is best for them and their business because this one might have 20,000 cars a day, this other one I thought was good only has 5,000,” Florsheim said.

“That could be the life or death for a business. Think Texas Roadhouse, just their location itself, it might’ve been more expensive to buy that piece of property, but everyone who drives through town sees them and their sign and so that location is advertising for them.”

While a heavy traffic flow is ideal for a businesses’ success that’s not always the case. It’s important to be picky as houses continue flying off the market.

“If you knew the traffic count on your little city street and you’ve got a two-year-old that needs to ride a two-wheel bike, you might say oh this is a very busy street, I never thought about this, maybe I need to move to this house on this street, less traffic,” Lewis said.

Just a number on a map that could make or break your next move.

The 2020 traffic counts will be out this summer.

You can check out the 2019 traffic count with the TxDOT District Traffic web viewer.

The STARS II gives a more detailed traffic county such as hourly counts, directional counts, daily traffic counts, and classification hourly counts where available.

The TxDOT Open Data Portable is a good resource for users who would like to download or access a copay of the annual traffic counts (AADTs) data to use in their own maps and analysis.