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The purpose of the traffic impact study ("TIS") is to help solve a localized problem and deal with project-related traffic within a limited area. Usually, this is the street system immediately adjacent to the site. As the size of the development grows, so should the area of analysis.
The TIS must answer the question: "Does the traffic generated by the proposed development cause a decrease in service or safety?" If the answer is "yes," then the TIS should go on to assess how improvements can be made to mitigate the impact of the new traffic.
Good traffic analysis depends upon good site design. The two are inseparable. The site planning and design process usually begins with decisions relative to the building size and shape, and its placement on the site. The parking and on-site circulation are then designed around the building. Finally, the intersections of the access drives with the adjacent street are established, sometimes with little or no consideration being given to the impact on the street.
When inadequate attention is given to the location and design of access, and feedback does not occur between site design and traffic engineering, the following problems may result:
- Inadequate access capacity.
- On-site congestion.
- Congestion on the public street system.
- High accident experience.
- Limited flexibility to adjust the design or operation to future changed conditions.
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