Corridor studies involve looking at an existing or proposed section of roadway and determining what improvements or infrastructure is needed to accommodate the safe and efficient movement of all modes of transportation. Most corridor studies are are initiated by state and local governments during the concept development portion of the project. Maintaining and/or improving crash reduction and traffic operation with minimal impacts to adjacent property are typically the focus of the study. Both conventional and innovative solutions are applied to determine which potential improvement best achieves the goals for the client. Our team has experience working with different software to evaluate existing and future scenarios. In addition, our team also works with clients to help identify potential funding mechanisms to help successfully deliver their projects.
Traffic Impact Studies
Traffic impact studies look at what impact a proposed development will have on an existing or proposed roadway network. Depending on the type of adjacent roadway, state or local governments mandate that private developers complete this type of study prior to developing the site. Our team has skillfully navigated this process for a variety of development types – residential, commercial, industrial, and mixed-use. In certain instances, we have even been able to get our clients out of having to complete a traffic impact study at all. In the event that this type of study is needed, our experience and relationships allow us to successfully navigate through the approval process. Our focus is on getting the client the site access they need to have a successful and profitable development, while keeping roadway construction costs to a minimum.
Long-Range Planning Studies
Long range planning studies look at where a client wants to be by a set time period, usually more than 15 years into the future. By identifying where you want to be, you can then focus on what needs to be done on the short, medium, and long term to reach that goal. Many long-range plans reach out to residents and various stakeholders to get their input on where they would like to see the municipality head to in the future. At the end of the long-range planning study, a gameplan will be developed as to how the municipality will reach their future goal. This plan will typically include: economic development strategies, transportation planning initiatives, park and open space planning, housing development strategies, etc.
Operational Improvements Studies
Operational improvement studies analyze both intersections and roadways to see what improvements could be made to reduce road user delay and improve level of service. The focus of these studies are typically on vehicles, but delay and level of service can also apply to other modes of travel. When looking at intersections, improvements could include: optimizing traffic signal timing, updating traffic signal phasing, implementing new traffic signal timing software (which could expand operational capabilities), adding additional through or turn lanes at the intersection, and/or implementing an alternative intersection layout. For roadways, improvements could include: cross-section changes, profile changes, evaluating access point location and frequency, and/or number of lanes. In some instances, before and after travel runs are completed to see what impact the proposed improvements had. Some clients also request a benefit-cost ratio be used to quantify the return on their investment.
Traffic Safety Studies
Safety studies look at ways to reduce crashes either at intersections or along a stretch of roadway. Safety studies can look at both historical crash data as well as anticipated future crash rates. To improve the level of safety, specific crash countermeasures will be analyzed and to see which one – or combination of countermeasures – best fits the project site. Our team has extensive experience with these types of studies for a variety of clients across the southeast. Our team has been involved with the creation and refining of several Intersection Control Evaluation (ICE) tools. These tools help guide engineers through the decision making process for which alternative(s) should be implemented for a specific site to improve safety. In certain scenarios where a preferred alternative to reduce crashes is desired by the client but available funds are not sufficient to cover the cost of the project, we have been able to successfully find other stakeholders and funding mechanisms to make the project a reality. Finally, our team is involved in a variety of professional organizations that help guide the discussion for implementing safer intersection and roadway design. Some of these organizations include: Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Teens in the Driver Seat, and Institute of Transportation Engineers.
Traffic Signal Design
Traffic signal designs are completed for a variety of reasons: the existing equipment is deficient, the traffic signal is being impacted by an adjacent development or project, additional lanes are needed at the intersection to process all the traffic, the existing intersection does not conform to architectural standards of the managing stakeholder, etc. At Keck & Wood, our team has completed hundreds of traffic signal designs all over the southeast – both new traffic signal designs and traffic signal retrofits. Our team takes into account the type of traffic signal controller software being used to determine what can be physically constructed to improve operations of the intersection. We have also developed traffic signal designs for different intersection types, including: signalized green-T, Median U-Turn (MUT), Restricted Crossing U-Turn (RCUT), pedestrian hybrid beacons, Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI), and Single Point Urban Interchange (SPUI). We are also well versed in the different traffic signal pre-emption types. Typically as part of these designs, some form of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) design is included to show how the signalized intersection is connected to the network.
Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) designs can vary greatly depending on what is being installed. At its core, ITS designs look at how information and data is transmitted between intersections and a central network. Previously, this information was carried via phone lines. As technology has progressed, so have ITS designs. Now this data is transferred via fiber optic cable, radio units, and cellular units. At Keck & Wood, we have experience working with all the forms listed above. We have developed fiber optic drop cable routing plans for single signalized intersections. We have also developed an ITS master plan for a large city that included the installation of cellular units at specific locations, the design of trunk line fiber optic cable, and the retrofitting of old traffic signal cabinets to accommodate new fiber optic drop cable routing (everything was designed and built to meet the budget of the client so they could get the most for their money while still being able to expand capabilities in the future). Keck & Wood is involved in a variety of professional organizations so we can keep our pulse on the latest trends and cutting-edge technology.
Traffic Assessment Management
Traffic asset management involves the periodic evaluation of existing traffic signal equipment and software to verify that they are operating as intended. Over time, these items may develop errors or stop working. We have the knowledge and capability to troubleshoot these items and perform certain on-site maintenance. Several areas that we have provided asset management for are: pedestrian equipment inspection, vehicular signal head visual inspections, vehicle detector loop troubleshooting, CCTV camera capabilities, conflict monitor troubleshooting, and ITS component evaluations.
Traffic Signal Timing
The traffic signal controller at each signalized intersection runs a specific type of software that tells the intersection how it will operate. When a new traffic signal is being turned on, the traffic signal controller needs to be completely programmed to successfully operate the intersection in an efficient and safe manner. The software must interact with the equipment at the intersection (i.e.: vehicular signal heads, vehicle detection, pedestrian phasing, etc.) as well as the equipment inside the traffic cabinet (i.e.: conflict monitor, input assignments, DC Isolators, pre-emption, etc.). In situations where a traffic signal is already functional, we are asked to optimize the traffic signal timings to improve traffic operations. We have done this for both single intersections as well as on lengthy corridors. From a central system perspective our team is well versed in setting up traffic responsive and traffic adaptive systems and fine tuning them to achieve the desired results.