ARTICLE

Solving Traffic Flow Problems

Is traffic flow an issue in your community? Do you have an idea that might improve rush-hour traffic, or the overall stream of traffic, but aren’t sure where to begin?

Traffic modeling may be the answer. Modeling can help traffic engineers and transportation planners design, model, optimize, simulate, and animate intersections, including roundabouts. It also allows them to analyze traffic operations in days versus manual calculations that could take weeks. The resulting traffic flow animation can help the stakeholders involved easily understand the effects of proposed changes, such as adding a roundabout or installing turn lanes.

It’s All About the Data

A lot of data is collected to set up a traffic model.  Some of this data includes:

  • Number of vehicles and pedestrians
  • Width of lanes
  • Distance between intersections or driveways
  • Existing traffic control such as stop signs or traffic signals
  • Angle of intersecting streets

You Have Data, Now What?

After collecting the data, a traffic modeling animation is set up to represent existing traffic conditions. The model allows you to see traffic flow with various roadway and intersection configurations in real time. Any changes to the model will demonstrate how traffic flow will react to proposed improvements, helping engineers design for traffic flow conditions today and for many years to come. This can also be applied when considering traffic impacts for new subdivisions or retail locations.   

Traffic modeling animation can help both communities and developers when making modifications that will affect traffic. And, it helps them stay informed when it comes to benefits, such as safety and the costs of improvements.

Engineering Traffic & Transportation
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Are you experiencing traffic flow issues in your community?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Vondera, PE, PTOE is a transportation engineer at Origin Design. She is experienced in traffic signal design, traffic control plans, construction staging, and traffic impact studies. She is also knowledgeable in DOT federal-aid procedures for local public agencies, environmental documents, and permit applications.

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