August 24


How to Professionally Review a Traffic Study

By Mike Spack

August 24, 2011

traffic impact study, Traffic Impact Study Review, traffic study

Mike Spack, PE, PTOE


I’ve reviewed several traffic studies for communities and I’ve had a lot of my traffic studies reviewed by other engineers.  Most of the reviews I’ve seen are a laundry list of 20 to 30 bullet points that don’t always give clear guidance to the city.  I think the outline below provides a very clear and actionable memo format for the city staff who hired the independent consultant.

Section 1 – Introduction/Purpose

Give  a brief description of the traffic study and the purpose of your memo.  Say who prepared the traffic study and whether or not they are qualified to prepare traffic studies (are they a Professional Engineer, Professional Traffic Operations Engineer, etc.).  Keep this section to three or four sentences.

Section 2 – Conclusions/Recommendations

Clearly say whether or not the traffic study is sufficient or if further study is needed.  If further study is needed, list the things that need to be covered and the express purpose of covering those items (describe what you’re concerned about).  If the traffic analysis was done properly but you disagree with the conclusions/recommendations, clearly state why your disagree and what you recommend.

Section 3 – Technical Review

This is where the bullet point list comes in. Go through each component of the traffic study and state whether or not you agree with the study.  Here is where you can flag typos and minor imbalances in traffic numbers.  If the city/county/state has written policies or standards related to traffic studies, they should be cited and inconsistencies should be identified.  When flagging an issue or disagreement, clearly identify whether it is a minor issue that wouldn’t affect the conclusions/recommendations of the traffic study or if they are a major issue that warrants further analysis.

Lastly, as part of doing a good review, visit the development site to make sure all of your comments are accurate.  It kills your credibility if your review has mistakes in it.

Need a proven traffic study report template? Check out our digital template designed by Spack Consulting.  This template includes all of the core elements needed to create and impactful traffic study report including:

  • Executive summary
  • Study overview and table of contents
  • Existing conditions, forecasted traffic and analyses
  • Tables
  • Recommendations and conclusion sections

The document if fully editable and ready to be customized for your business.  Click to learn more about the Traffic Impact Study Report Template.
Mike Spack Bio

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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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