Major road infrastructure projects in state after state are moving along at a faster pace with drivers staying at home during COVID-19. But what about real estate development projects that depend on recent traffic counts? Does your project need to be delayed?
In the wake of the COVID-19 shutdown, real estate developers have been asking: can we still collect traffic counts and prepare traffic impact studies for our projects, despite the current reduction in traffic?
The fact is that despite the closure of public schools and offices and the widespread adoption of teleworking, there still are ways to develop accurate baseline traffic counts to keep your projects moving forward. Projects can stay on track during COVID-19 and the upcoming summer months when new traffic counts are not deemed acceptable.
Historical Traffic Data: A Foundation for Traffic Impact Studies in DC, MD, and VA During COVID-19
Wells + Associates has coordinated with various DOTs and Planning Departments to utilize our historical traffic databases and other resources to derive and validate alternative traffic counts in support of pending applications. For example, with input provided by Wells + Associates and others, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) published a guidance document on May 1 for the collection of traffic counts during COVID-19. This FCDOT COVID-19 Traffic Count Guidance states that FCDOT “has determined to utilize historical traffic data as the foundation for traffic impact studies conducted during the COVID-19 crisis.”
With Wells + Associates’ collection of historical traffic data accumulated from over 7,000 projects in the region, our traffic engineers and transportation planners can produce reasonable and acceptable estimates of existing traffic volumes that would normally be collected during non-pandemic periods.
This exclusive database of information supports traffic engineering studies, transportation planning projects, shared parking analyses, and parking reduction requests. In addition, we can provide historic data in support of campus plans, hospital centers, mixed-use developments, private developments, and public facilities.
FCDOT “has determined to utilize historical traffic data as the foundation for traffic impact studies conducted during the COVID-19 crisis.”
Traffic Counts for Projects in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia
Typically, local jurisdictions require baseline traffic counts during specific times, such as when local schools are in session. This unprecedented COVID-19 situation is enabling us to work with local jurisdictions to process traffic impact studies without collecting new traffic counts.
In Maryland, for example, both Montgomery County and Prince George’s County support moving real estate projects forward. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) recently held a successful virtual public hearing to advance projects. Likewise, Prince George’s County Planning Department stated that “the department does not want to inhibit development applications from proceeding and will work to develop the appropriate traffic count adjustment factors.”
Similarly, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has expressed willingness to work with traffic consultants on developing creative methodologies for deriving baseline traffic volumes.
There still are ways to develop accurate baseline traffic counts to keep projects moving forward and capital investments on track. Our traffic engineers can produce reasonable estimates of existing traffic volumes that would normally be collected during non-pandemic periods.
In many cases, city and county officials in the Washington, DC metro region and state DOTs are considering the use of traffic data for development projects on a case-by-case basis, including accessing forecasts compiled in previous environmental impact statements (EIS), long-range travel demand forecasts, previously prepared traffic impact studies, historical traffic counts, and big data that, for example, relies on months of data and is calibrated with other count information.
In many cases, on-demand traffic data can be gathered from other reputable and highly experienced data sources to derive baseline traffic data. In all these cases, we are working with DOTs and regulatory bodies to ensure that the methodologies meet their approval.
The traffic data resources we have access to includes a variety of roadway data, including:
- intersection turning movement counts
- average daily traffic (ADT) machine counts
- changes in vehicle miles traveled (VMT)
- pedestrian and bicycle information
- time delay and queuing studies
- travel time and delay studies
- street and parking lot duration studies
W+A Experience in the DMV Region
Our traffic engineering and planning team’s historical count database is a result of work with all the jurisdictions in the DMV region, including FCDOT, Prince William County Department of Transportation, Arlington County Department of Environmental Services, Loudoun County Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure, VDOT Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia (DDOT), MCDOT, Montgomery County Planning Department, Howard County Office of Transportation, Prince George’s County Planning Department, and the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works & Transportation.
If you have any questions or have any specific projects for which you would like us to research traffic counts, please feel free to reach out to us.
Michael J. Workosky
President | (703) 676-3603
Mike Workosky is a transportation executive based in Fairfax County with more than 25 years of experience in the DMV region, helping bring mixed use developments, retail projects, and commercial, governmental, and academic properties to completion.
Jami L. Milanovich, P.E.
Principal | (703) 676-3608
A Professional Engineer, Jami has extensive experience working on projects in the District of Columbia and with DDOT. Her work includes traffic impact and site access studies, intersection design, loading management plans, and expert witness testimony.
Senior Associate | (703) 676-3652
Kevin Fellin is a transportation engineer based in Prince William County, Virginia. He is a registered Professional Engineer and has nearly 20 years of experience working on traffic impact studies for developments in the DMV region.