Jun 16, 2021

Traffic Impact Studies: Improving Utah Growth

By Focus Engineering In Expertise, Services No comments
Engineering Safe and Efficient Traffic Flow for Utah Communities

When a new development or an expansion to existing real estate is proposed, it is generally assumed that the project will generate additional vehicle trips using public roads. Traffic impact studies (TIS) are becoming more important in determining the extent of these impacts. A credible and accurate TIS is important for community development and livability. An overly conservative estimate may result in wasted resources for improvements while an underestimate could result in unanticipated congestion and safety issues.

Example of figure created for traffic study

FOCUS transportation engineers know the importance of safe and efficient traffic flow. That’s why public and private clients turn to our Transportation Engineering Department to prepare an accurate TIS that represents the applicant’s intentions while providing all parties with the proper information to make good decisions.

As a full-service civil engineering firm, developers turn to our Transportation Engineering and Planning Departments to help lay out roadways and accesses that will provide the most efficient flow of traffic. “We work with the developer to provide cost-effective solutions when improvements are necessary,” explains department manager Jason Watson. “Our traffic studies have saved clients thousands of dollars on off-site improvements when we can demonstrate a development will not impact the flow of traffic on existing roadways.”

Jason and his team use technical methods standardized by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) to estimate how much traffic a new development will create (known as trip generation analysis). They also use established policies and/or ordinances created by local government entities that oversee site development. The content of the study varies depending on the size and complexity of the proposed development but usually takes into account the number of trips generated by the site, type and size of the development, and other area characteristics.

A TIS includes Level of Service (LOS)—how efficient and safe the flow of traffic is along the roadways and at intersections—and an analysis of existing and future traffic along adjacent roadways to the proposed development. Once the future traffic volumes are generated, ITE Trip Generation Manuals are used to project how much traffic will be generated by the project. This figure is then added to the Future Year traffic. FOCUS engineers then evaluate the Existing traffic, Future without the development traffic, and Future with the development traffic. If LOS is not acceptable, then our engineers recommend on- and off-site improvements along the roadways and at intersections to adjust or mitigate the expected development traffic. Improvements may include traffic signals, turn lanes, additional thru lanes, etc.

Screenshot of Synchro Analysis software

The schedule for completing a traffic study often depends on the size of the development and its complexity, but it typically takes about two weeks to collect existing and background conditions (including traffic counts), analyze data, and write the report.

FOCUS works closely with developer clients to design efficient and safe roadway infrastructure. We regularly sit down with a client to review build conditions and analyze alternatives to determine potential study network issues, why or why not an improvement may be needed, and the costs associated with the improvements.

No matter the size of the development, FOCUS can provide a traffic impact study that enables future growth and expansion while protecting the public and maintaining the continuity of traffic.

Reach out to Jason Watson, 801-352-0075, to learn how our knowledgeable, experienced team can assist you with your traffic engineering needs.