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  • 1.  Estimating Traffic Volumes During Unusual Travel Patterns

    Posted 04-07-2020 01:00 PM
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    With travel patterns so unusual due to social distancing these days, the inability to collect traffic counts that reflect typical patterns is a real barrier to projects. A question that we have asked, along with many other transportation engineers, is: How can projects that rely on field-collected volume data continue under pandemic conditions?

    I'm writing to share a white paper that our team recently posted on this topic. There's still much more to talk about, but this document outlines four steps to estimating defensible traffic volumes (I also attached it to this message): https://www.kittelson.com/ideas/white-paper-estimating-traffic-volumes-under-covid-19-pandemic-conditions/

    I'd love to hear others' thoughts and examples on this, too, as this is an important time to be sharing what we're learning with one another.

    Amy Donald
    Kittelson & Associates, Inc.
    Portland, OR


  • 2.  RE: Estimating Traffic Volumes During Unusual Travel Patterns

    Posted 04-11-2020 03:45 PM
    Thanks for sharing, Amy! All traffic consultancies were stopped because of the pandemic. It seems that your article offers a nice alternative to perform traffic analyses during these times. We will implement it in our office, and I will let you know our results.

    Andres Guzman Ing., M.ASCE
    Associate Professor

  • 3.  RE: Estimating Traffic Volumes During Unusual Travel Patterns

    Posted 04-01-2021 05:59 PM
    Hi Ms. Amy Donald,

    I might debate that there is traffic to be found. I think this always catches some engineers off guard, but we are seeing lesser residential vehicular traffic in comparison to industrial/commercial traffic. I was going to write a very short post about the allocation of traffic with respect to remote work and the change in consumer behavior. For example, remote work does not require workers to commute, but as humans we are still consumers and need the bare necessities. Although our travel has been constricted, we still make trips to grocery stores and acquire essential items and if we cannot then sometimes the commercial industry does it for us. For example, making purchases online through Amazon for food and other product demands. I don't have much to add here, I don't have statistics or data, but it's important we do not accidently underestimate the data for future projections and estimates because we want to always design and provide safe roadways for our consumers. Our Covid-19 situation is only a temporary situation and once the economy gets back on track, we still need to have an infrastructure that is safe and up to government standards. I think what we are all really wanting to ask is where is the funding going to be coming from? (Since most funding has come from gas taxes) So, from this perspective, it may be more about our resources than to ask whether or not we may need infrastructure investment. 

    Thank you,
    Oanh Le

    Oanh Le EIT, A.M.ASCE (She/Her)
    Rochdale, MA

  • 4.  RE: Estimating Traffic Volumes During Unusual Travel Patterns

    Posted 04-19-2021 09:52 PM
    Hi Ms. Donald,

    I just realized I completely missed the question. I hope you will accept my apology.

    Thank you,
    Oanh Le

    Oanh Le, A.M.ASCE (She/Her)
    Rochdale, MA

  • 5.  RE: Estimating Traffic Volumes During Unusual Travel Patterns

    Posted 09-06-2021 08:46 PM
    Hello Ms. Donald,

    When I got back to working on Ohio State campus as a Student Research Assistant for the Department of Civil Engineering, the office was following the advice in the paper.

    Before the pandemic hit, students like me would go onto campus buses in teams of two to create Origin-Destination matrices of student bus usage. After the university closed down (and worked stopped for spring and summer), we just transitioned to working with video footage from 2020 regarding passing vehicles. To that end, student had three activities to do; clip out the periods of time the buses spent standing still at a bus stop; segment the videos based off of their bus routes; and count the passing vehicles as they passed the bus in the opposite direction.

    I retired from this job last month to become a graduate student, so I think the department is going to keep doing this for some time.

    Alexander Granato A.M.ASCE
    Bexley OH