If you’ve ever had to follow up with residents regarding speeding complaints on a particular road or neighborhood, you know that generating speed surveys and traffic studies can be time consuming, and often the results prove there isn’t a real speeding issue at all. Or perhaps you want perform a traffic study to measure current traffic volume in an already congested roadway, without laying road tubes (which can be dangerous to install, easily damaged and a mess to pull up) so you can plan how to divert traffic during upcoming road construction.
The good news is that you can conduct mini speed studies and baseline traffic studies—fast, efficiently and accurately—and produce simple speed and volume traffic reports to help clear complaints, identify enforcement priorities, improve traffic flow and plan for future growth. You just need the right tools.
How much does it cost to prepare a traffic study? Transportation studies can be expensive and should not be conducted without considering the alternatives. “There is no typical cost for conducting studies since transportation problems often are unique in scope and sensitive to regional differences in travel patterns. A traffic study can range in cost from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, based on the complexity and extent of the study.” –Traffic Study Fact Sheet, Institute of Transportation Engineers
Clear Speed Complaints with a Quick Speed Survey
Police departments understand the importance of following up on neighborhood complaints regarding speeding vehicles on a particular stretch of road. The ability to address these concerns in a timely manner strengthens community relations and helps lighten the volume of paperwork for officers and staff.
At times, these speeding complaints prove to be more of a perception problem. Other times there is basis for concern and remediation but researching speed issues has oftentimes involved assigning officers, using handheld Lidar, to manually monitor and track driver speeds. This takes officers way from fighting crime and taxes your already stretched budget.
One solution is to first install a speed radar sign, such as the portable Shield 15, on the road in question. You can deploy the display on the road in stealth mode so that it can inconspicuously gather true speed data without appearing to be operational to passing drivers. (This is important because who hasn’t slowed down in observance of a flashing sign telling you that you’re going over the speed limit?) If the data shows that most everyone is obeying the speed limit, you can clear the complaint without using valuable resources. If there is a problem, you know that you need to take action, such as posting an officer with a Lidar device on the road for enforcement or installing a permanent speed sign to keep drivers in check.
Another option is deploy an off-road counter classifier like StatTrak, also from ATS. StatTrak is a portable, easy-to-install counter classifier that collects bi-directional traffic in up to four lanes at once and can be mounted to a pole on either the side of the road or in the median in under 30 minutes. If you have concerns that your radar speed sign in stealth mode isn’t “stealthy enough,” this lightweight device (weighing in at as little as three lbs.) is an ideal solution to collect information without the potential influence of the radar sign.
Request Speed Limit Change
Let’s suppose that despite all your efforts to slow speeders on a road, your reports show no noticeable decrease in average speed or in the number of speeders, pointing to the need to ask the DOT to perform a traffic study. Does filing this request mean more paperwork for you? Probably not, if you submit data reports that support your request and demonstrate that remedial action is indeed required. If additional speed data is required, you’ll be able to furnish it quickly and with greater accuracy than if you had to manually collect the data and perform ongoing file management to produce reports; your centralized data repository will provide the reports you need with just a few clicks.
Planning For the Future Using Accurate Traffic Data
Most traffic complaints or speed studies get routed to the police department, other times it’s the public works department that will conduct that study. In either case, many traffic studies are still conducted by having someone stationed at roadside to manually count vehicles which is time-consuming, expensive and takes staff away from other important tasks. One city that ATS is working with is going to upgrade their 40 unconnected signs to be smart units so they can gather data and upload it to the TraffiCloud remote traffic management system. As the city grows and expands, they will have an accurate idea of how that population is moving and the impact on traffic on the edges of their city. As congestion gets worse, they can tie it back and track population growth through speeds and volume and see how those impact major highways or throughways.
Whether your goal is to clear speed complaints, conduct unofficial speed surveys and traffic studies or produce accurate forecasts of traffic trends and population growth, All Traffic Solutions has the right portable, web-enabled traffic devices to save you time, budget and resources.