Lakeside Interceptor | Duluth, MN

Consider traffic impacts of new developments

Kevin Ruhland, PE | with 0 Comments

Consider traffic impacts of new developments

Proposed developments are expected to bring many positive impacts to a community. These can include more jobs, recreational opportunities, and shopping/dining opportunities plus an increased tax base. But these projects also can challenge communities with the potential for increased traffic and a need for more transportation options for residents.
Traffic Impact Studies (TIS) offer municipalities a process for considering proposed developments of any size. They’re a versatile tool that can be financed partially or totally by the potential developers.
With a TIS, communities can be better prepared for traffic impacts, whether from a complex project or standalone development. These studies offer a plan for implementing infrastructure projects that will maintain or even improve traffic conditions around new traffic generators.
Traffic impact studies can serve the following purposes:
  • Anticipate future right-of-way and improvements
  • Assess timing of transportation improvements
  • Establish budget for necessary improvements
  • Help avoid future traffic congestion
  • Assess mobility and safety concerns
They also can be scaled for the size of a proposed development. For instance, a Traffic Impact Study could be required for a large area with existing congestion. But it also could be useful for a standalone commercial development without existing congestion.
Proactive communities often address the need for Traffic Impact Studies in a municipal ordinance. The regulation could indicate that the developer must conduct a TIS, if the municipality decides that it’s needed.
Potential triggers that indicate a need for a Traffic Impact Study could include the following:
  • Development Size/Type
  • Anticipated Traffic Generation of the Development
  • Adjacent Roadway Classification
  • Staff or Committee Request
Traffic Impact Studies should provide a traffic analysis, a safety assessment, and schematic/estimate of improvements. This way, the community can decide how to work with developers to implement transportation improvements and funding for construction of those improvements.
For information about preparing Traffic Impact Studies, contact MSA’s Traffic Engineering Team Leader, Kevin Ruhland, PE. For more information about Developer Agreements, see Negotiate a Win-Win Relationship with Developers and “Consider the Big Picture When Preparing Developer’s Agreements.”

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