13 Questions for Scoping a Traffic Study
By Mike Spack, PE, PTOE
Here are thirteen questions every traffic engineer should ask when a client asks them for a traffic study proposal (developers, architects, planners, etc. – feel free to prepare answers to these questions before you call your traffic engineer for a proposal):
- Where is it? Ask if they have a minute so you can pull up an aerial on your computer.
- What kind of development is it (commercial, retail, houses, industrial, etc.)?
- How big is it (acres, gross square footage, employees, students, etc.)? If it’s a mixed use development (a site with different kinds of uses), get a breakdown of size for each use.
- How many accesses (driveways) are they planning? What roads will the accesses be on? Any existing driveways into the site?
- When will it be fully occupied?
- Will it be built in phases?
- Do they have a concept or site plan they can email you?
- Have they discussed the traffic study with any government staff? If yes, who? Notes from the meeting?
- Do they know of any nearby recent development? Any traffic studies done for this parcel or nearby parcels?
- When do they need the proposal?
- When do they need the draft traffic study?
- Will they want you to present the traffic study results at a government staff meeting, a neighborhood meeting, a public hearing
at the city council, etc? How many meetings will the traffic engineer need to attend?” This is guess-work to some extent, but it helps the project manager work on a realistic quote.
- Are they getting other proposals for the traffic study (this is delicate, but it’s always good to know if you have competition – if you do have competition, try to find out who)?
Did I miss anything?
If you found this list of questions helpful, you may also find our Traffic Study Manual useful. This is the manual we wish we had when we started doing traffic studies almost twenty years ago. It details the complete process for preparing traffic studies for new land developments/re-developments and we guarantee it will shorten your learning curve. You can even download a free preview see if it’s right for you. In the manual, we teach you how to:
- Conduct a thorough inventory of existing conditions.
- Prepare traffic forecasts.
- Analyze the capacity of roads and intersections.
- Determine if roadway or traffic control improvements need to be made for a proposed development.
- Write easy to understand traffic study reports.