3 Steps to Understanding Traffic Impact from New Development

Kevin Ruhland, PE | with 0 Comments

3 Steps to Understanding Traffic Impact from New Development

Effective development plans include some level of traffic impact analysis. A successful, welcoming development is one that considers all modes of transportation, including vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

Based on our experience, here’s a list of steps your community might consider taking to ensure you understand how a proposed development might impact traffic flow and intersection effectiveness, prior to moving forward.
1.     Request A Traffic Impact Analysis

Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) reports are key to determining the effect a proposed development will have on traffic conditions. Many communities have a policy requiring a TIA as part of the development submittal based on the anticipated traffic generated by the new development.  Each report builds upon the previous and includes additional development from the background condition. For large areas, one report can be completed for multiple sites.  The reports include:
  • Estimates of existing and future traffic with and without proposed developments.
  • Analysis of the traffic impacts.
  • Recommended roadway improvements to accommodate the expected traffic.
2.     Consider Level of Service Requirements

TIAs offer recommended timetables for road construction and traffic signal installation based on the level of development that will occur.  The Level of Service, which is a reflection of wait time at an intersection, is noted for each intersection within the study limits. The goal is to maintain or improve the level of service as traffic grows in the future. Understanding daily and seasonal traffic variations, especially for regional entertainment destinations, is important to setting realistic expectations for traffic conditions and designing future improvements.
3.     Conduct Ongoing Intersection Maintenance

It’s important to remember that because TIA’s are forward looking, conditions can change from even the best estimates once the development is completed.  Conducting regular traffic counts (a three-year cycle is common) and reanalyzing intersections to continually monitor and improve major corridors is important. Traffic counts can be collected cost-effectively using video traffic count equipment.

A comprehensive development plan with coordinated transportation analysis and ongoing intersection maintenance provides long-term solutions that align a community’s goals.  Through proper planning, communities can budget and implement local roadway construction projects in conjunction with community development to improve safety and operations along the entire developing corridor.

Residents depend on municipalities to develop and maintain safe, convenient transportation infrastructure. For more information, contact MSA’s Kevin Ruhland.

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