There’s More Traffic Coming to an Intersection Near You!
Many cities are predicting that the eventual end of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will trigger an increase in traffic congestion — one like we’ve never seen before.
Given the health and travel concerns about airplanes, busses, Uber and Lyft, the number of people choosing to drive to their destination is expected to increase — dramatically.
And even before COVID-19, trends confirmed that more and more parents were choosing to drive their children to school. It is not unusual to receive requests to help a school “rethink” their traffic patterns. The increasing number of parents dropping their children off impacts accessibility, bus patterns, faculty parking, and in some cases, traffic backs out onto local streets and highways. Some schools resort to hiring policemen to direct traffic during arrival and dismissal times.
Each school is different but sometimes adjusting existing traffic patterns, new signage, or revised pavement markings, can improve traffic flow during arrival and dismissal times. The interaction of traffic between busses, parents, faculty, bikers, and walkers is a growing concern — and in all sincerity, it should surprise us. Let’s face it, less and less children are riding the bus, and because of COVID-19, that trend will spike. Even car-pooling is likely to decrease. Control over one’s personal health has become high priority.
Now, more than ever, smart communities can track traffic on key roadways and areas of concern. Quantifying the “typical” makes it easier to identify anomalies. Changes in peak hour traffic volumes, truck percentages, or unexpected growth rates make it easier for planners and engineers to make improvements where most needed.
Granted, we have been pretty smart over the years, but the current pandemic suggests we act now to plan for what’s coming — we can be even smarter — there’s no reason for surprise.
Chet Skwarcan (traffic engineer, author, unique insights) with over 25 years of traffic engineering experience — online ideas available at TrafficEngineering.com/Services.