About MikeOnTraffic

Mike Spack and Family

I’m an inquisitive traffic engineer who has been in the business since 1994.  This is my personal blog about the transportation industry.

My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.  As a result, I write on traffic analysis, data collection, our profession and transportation design (although I occasionally write about stuff that doesn’t fit neatly into one of these categories).

My goal is to create insightful, relevant content you can put to work in your professional life.

About Mike Spack, PE, PTOE

I’ve founded and am currently the president of four industry related companies –

Before going to work for myself, I worked in a couple of consulting firms and also served as the staff traffic engineer for the city of Maple Grove, Minnesota.  I’ve taught in the civil engineering department at the University of Minnesota and am a past president of the North Central Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

I’m a licensed civil engineer and a certified professional transportation operations engineer (the alphabet soup after my name).  I’m also a fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

I’ve been married to my lovely wife Jane since 1996 and we have three kids.  We live in St. Louis Park, Minnesota when we’re not at our cabin in Baxter, Minnesota.  In my free time, I enjoy reading, exercising, cooking, fishing, traveling, playing board games with my family and playing cards with my buddies.

Contact Info

You can contact me via email, connect on Linkedin, and/or follow me on Twitter.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

11 thoughts on “About MikeOnTraffic

  1. Hi Mike,

    Let me introduce at first place. We are a small company from Slovenia (Europe), specialized in infrastructure (see website).
    We also employ two traffic engineers working on smaller traffic impact studies.
    Now we are Synchro 7 and Simtraffic users, but in many cases we reach the issue of traffic distribution and assignment.
    As I follow your webpage, I’d like to ask for opinion of “best” software for smaller studies.
    I read some of your articles using PTV Vistro and that you are more than satisfied.
    We tried demo version and it seems like the right choice for us (for now).
    In the future, we’d like to work on some more “complex” studies (using dynamic traffic assingment) so we are not very confident witch software to purchase.

    We’d appreciate to get at least a hint or your opinion about other software (Vissim, Visum, Aimsunm,..).

    Thank you very much.

    All the best,

  2. Hi! I live in the Morningside area of Edina, next to Minikahda Vista, and one complaint about the lights on Excelsior Blvd will generate 50 more on NextDoor any time. The complaints are about the lights at 36th & Excelsior, Woodale & Excelsior, and just on Excelsior (long waits, lights aren’t timed). I have a couple of Qs about this – it is my impression that the light on 36th & Exc, going south (from Trader Joe’s to Minikahda Vista) is a “smart light”, at least at night, that actually responds to traffic, but that on the other side (36th going north toward Trader Joe’s) is a very long light, with no response to traffic, as is the right turn light from Exc., going East, to 36th. Is this possible? Are there “smart lights”? Second Q: Is it very difficult to simply decrease the length of a light? (the ones that are long don’t have the traffic to warrant the length of the red light). If you’re not the right one to ask, do you know who is?

    • Those signals have the hardware to be responsive to traffic, but it’s Hennepin County’s choice on how responsive they make them. Your best bet is to contact the city engineer to discuss your concerns. Mike

  3. Hi Mike,

    If I want to compute link LOS of unsignalized Street corridor for any peak hour volume, how do I do that. I am working in Florida based project related to traffic impact assessment. Florida LOD handbook provides LOS per peak hour two way volume for interrupted signalized facilities not for interrupted stop controlled facilities.

  4. Hi Mike. Congrats on your very informative site. I have a dilemma in trying to decide which Trip Generation Code to use in the following situation.
    A 30 Acre “Campground RV site” with 250 site is the situation. This “Campground” behaves more like a Mobile Home Park as 90% of RV’s are seasonal and will not move for many years. Does the ITE rules allow for mathching the code to the proper usage expected and if so could reference be made as to where in the handbook this is.

    By using “code 240 Campground” the trip rate of 0.19/site generates 48 trips in PM Peak hour.
    However using “Code 416, Mobile homes” per your Excel spreadsheet, available Units for Trip generators can be Occ Dwellings (0.59), acres (4.45), vehicles(0.36) and persons (0.26 ).

    Using the Mobile home code 416 and any of its corresponding units would generate higher trip rates than using those of the Campground Code 420.

    Would appreciate your thoughts as to how I should proceed. If the mobile home code is more appropriate, which unit should I be using. Does the ITE 10th Edition provide more insight into this?

    Thank you so much. Your help is much appreciated.

    Pierre, a fellow Civil Engineer, but no transportation expert…obviously!

    • Hi Pierre – while I can’t point to a specific page in the ITE manuals, our practice is to try to match the development to the most appropriate land use code. If you think the Mobile Home code is best, per your information, then I would encourage you to use it. For the units, again, go with what you think is best for the situation and then deal with the corresponding traffic. For instance, if there’s a chance all the sites might be occupied, then using the occupied dwelling assuming 100% occupied could be the best. Traffic engineering consists of lots of gray areas like this. Make your assumptions based on the best available data and be prepared to defend it.
      Thanks for reading.

  5. Hi Mike, I am reviewing a traffic study for proposed 1,238 RV Storage facility. The engineer utilized code 151 which seems to be common practice, I was hoping you could give some insight on how trips would actually compare and how does the conversion from per SF to per RV work? Also, should the traffic report take into account delays from heavily used railroad crossings which are appr 400 ft and 1050 ft from the intersection being studied? Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Per RV would be more accurate for the use than square foot, but would not account for a change to the facility. I can’t comment on the railroad crossings without understanding the whole project. Mike