Why traffic surveys are an essential part of the planning process

Councils across the UK are continually looking at sustainable and successful ways to develop land for housing, business and retail. These projects tend to face local opposition for a variety of reasons, one of which is traffic and transport management.

Travellers who are already faced with delays and congestion on their way to work, school or the shops, simply don’t want more traffic on the roads, so it makes sense for developers and planning authorities to pay attention to the impact of development on local traffic routes and suggest new traffic management schemes that might help.

Residents in Northampton conduct own traffic survey

In the Whitehills and Spring Park areas of Northampton, residents are concerned about the traffic implications of a house-building project that has been approved by the local Council. Several hundred homes are due to be built in the future, and residents are worried that the traffic on the A508, already busy at peak times, will be unmanageable once the new site is occupied.

To illustrate their point, a group of residents carried out a traffic survey over a 10-day period. Although not as precise or scientific as a professionally-designed survey would be, the group reported some crucial findings. A roundabout on the route regularly causes traffic queues, and between 7.30am and 8.30am, an average of 871 cars queued to get around the roundabout, travelling at a speed of around 3mph.

Traffic at the heart of development

Few development schemes are traffic-free or create no additional traffic on nearby routes, so making transport planning a key part of the development plan is essential – not just to keep existing residents and road users happy, but to ensure a sustainable travelling future for all local road users. This might include a straightforward traffic survey, but if developments are close to schools or hospitals, planners should also look at pedestrian issues and consider other road users, such as cyclists. Choosing to integrate traffic planning into new developments is essential if we want to keep people moving.

Traffic surveys and more from RDS

For professional advice and experienced traffic survey planning, execution and reporting, talk to Road Data Services. We work with developers, planning committees, local councils and interested parties to collect the data that helps you to make the best decisions for your community or for a wider transport scheme. Just call us today to find out more.

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