How traffic engineering makes your community safer
From the roads you drive to the paths you walk, traffic engineering can help create positive and efficient experiences for everyone
When you drive around town, do you ever wonder why some intersections have traffic signals while others are roundabouts or four-way stops?
A lot of care and planning goes into selecting the best intersection or roadway type for a specific location and creating the most efficient traffic flow possible. The process of planning, designing, and implementing these intersections and roadways is called traffic engineering.
What is traffic engineering?
“Traffic engineering is the process of using engineering techniques to safely and efficiently move people and vehicles over roadways,” explains Joe DeVore, KLJ Traffic Engineer. “As a branch of civil engineering, traffic engineering is mainly focused on the end-user of the project (you) and how to best accommodate their needs.”
Traffic engineering can include traffic modeling, traffic forecasting, signal design, signal timing, road safety audits, pedestrian and bicycle studies, and traffic management plans (to name a few).
This type of engineering method is important in any community whether urban or rural, and the needs of each individual community are taken into consideration when engineering a new traffic experience.
What goes into traffic engineering?
When a community is evaluating a roadway, they will often look to an engineering firm to analyze existing traffic patterns and identify safety and operational issues in a given stretch of road or intersection.
This analysis can utilize traffic counts, crash analysis, operations analysis, and considering multimodal connections.
Once the roadway in question has been analyzed and existing issues identified, an engineering plan is developed which may include intersection or corridor modifications of traffic signals, roundabouts, access reductions, multimodal additions, signs, and pavement markings to create a more functional traffic pattern.
What are the benefits of traffic engineering?
Traffic engineers work to create safer communities every day, for pedestrians, vehicles, and anything in between. DeVore says, “a more efficient intersection can drastically reduce congestion during peak travel times, optimize daily operations, make the intersection easier for pedestrians and cyclists to navigate, and improve the overall safety.”
Better-designed roadways lead to less driver frustration and reduced wait times at key junctions (such as left turns into oncoming traffic). Highway safety engineering—a branch of traffic engineering—specifically addresses reducing the frequency and severity of roadway and intersection crashes.
Considering a restricted crossing U-turn intersection or roundabout are both examples of minimizing severe crashes and highway safety engineering at work.
Traffic engineering is an important branch of civil engineering that keeps your community safe every day. From the roads you drive to the paths you walk, traffic engineering can help create positive and efficient experiences for everyone. If you’d like to learn more about KLJ’s traffic engineering capabilities, visit www.kljeng.com.
Joe DeVore, PE, PTOE, RSP2 provides a unique mix of leading and completing multimodal traffic analysis while empowering public and stakeholder engagement. This leadership helps clients select transportation options that reflect each community’s needs and values. Joe’s hands-on experience doesn’t just include leading specific traffic engineering tasks but also having an active role in the technical modeling and analysis to provide technical answers to stakeholders. He specializes in visualization and simulation of 4D multimodal traffic simulation and is a registered Professional Engineer in six states.
(This sponsored content is provided by KLJ)