October 19


lot of developers ask me if they need a traffic study for their specific development.  For starters –
if a government agency says you need one, you’ll need one.
They aren’t going to approve your project or your access
without it.  A lot of jurisdictions have their own policies, so check with the jurisdiction you are working in first.  A general starting point though is the Institute of Transportation
(aka ITE) recommendation of studying developments generating more than 100 trips during a peak hour.

(Jargon Alert! Traffic engineers define a vehicle coming in or out as a trip.
So a car getting gas is two trips for the gas station – one trip entering and
one trip exiting during the same rush hour.  At an office, you have most
cars entering in the morning rush hour as one trip and exiting in the afternoon
rush hour as the second trip.  Traffic engineers also like to call the
morning rush hour the a.m. peak hour and the evening rush hour the
p.m. peak hour

Top Ten Developments Triggering ITE’s Thresholds

  1. Fast Food Restaurant with a Drive Through:  3,000 square feet of gross floor area
  2. Shopping Center/Strip Center:  6,000 square feet of gross leasable area
  3. Gas Station with a Convenience Store:  7 Vehicle Pumps
  4. General Office Building:  67,000 square feet of gross floor area
  5. Single Family Home Subdivision:  90 Units
  6. Apartment Building:  150 Units
  7. Owned Condominium/Townhouse Development:  190 Units
  8. Drive through Bank:  2,000 square feet of gross floor area
  9. Manufacturing Plant:  144,000 square feet of gross floor area
  10. Light Industrial/Warehousing:  185,000 square feet of gross floor area



  • I agree with some of the developments that you provided because as a person living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I believe some of these development needs to be improved for the community. Just a couple days ago, I went to get food at a fast food restaurant at 2:00 am in the morning using the drive through. I thought there weren’t not going to be a long line of cars, but apparently I was wrong. I believe many restaurant drive through can be greatly improve for efficiency and safety.

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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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