March 7


Case Study: Iterating an Event Traffic Study at a Buddhist Temple

By Mike Spack

March 7, 2017

Buddhist Temple, COUNTcam, event study, event traffic, Traffic Corner Tuesday, traffic engineering help, traffic study

This article was originally published in 2015, but has been updated with additional information. We would love to hear from our readers on their traffic study experiences for event traffic. Post your comment or write us at

We were hired to conduct a “traffic study” for a minor expansion to a Buddhist Temple.  The real concern was related to a couple of events per year held on the campus, not traffic on a week to week basis. Instead of doing a standard traffic study, we ran an experiment and iterated the traffic control to find the right solution.

Step 1

It’s tough to do capacity analyses without trip generation data to base traffic forecasts on.  We decided to develop a traffic control plan based on a site review and some conservative estimates.  The first “traffic study” recommended the following plan:

  • Widen the site driveway to at least 22 feet to accommodate two-way traffic flow.
  • Hire an off-duty police officer to monitor and, if necessary, direct traffic at the site access intersection on 220th Street during the next event.
  • Monitor the next event to determine if an off-duty police officer will be needed to control the site access at future events.

You can download a copy of the initial event traffic study memo here. The township/county agreed to this plan and allowed the expansion to occur.  We came back six months later and monitored the event traffic per the third bullet point.

Step 2

We videoed the site access during one of the large events at the Temple with our COUNTcams and found  820 vehicles came to the event.  You can download our follow-up event traffic study memo here.  Even though 820 vehicles was more than initially thought would be generated by the site, our review of the video and our capacity analyses found the police officer was not needed to direct traffic.

This case study is a good example of our experimental approach to unique traffic situations.  Basically – setup a conservative plan with temporary traffic control, monitor the real world operation, and then adjust the plan for the next event based on the real traffic operations to right size the traffic control.
Are you interested in learning more about managing event traffic? Check out our free Traffic Corner Tuesday webinar Managing Event Traffic.  In this webinar, we review an event case study and share:

  • Background information we collect to assist with our evaluation
  • What we consider to improve internal site circulation
  • Measures we recommend to improve external site circulation

Or signup for our Traffic Corner Tuesday webinar series. Each webinar is 30-minutes of free traffic engineering best practices from industry experts.

  • I recently did a “traffic statement” for a Buddhist Temple located here in Poolesville, MD. I didn’t collect any peak-hour data since religious institutions are exempt from Adequate Public Facilities review in Montgomery County. The temple at this point was getting a plat done and vesting its existing density with the plan to expand in the future. I will email the statement to you. I will be interested in getting trip gen data once you have it.

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    Mike Spack

    My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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