April 2010
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Traffic Counting Season provides Important Data

TMACOG’s annual traffic counting season begins in May. You’ll start to see those familiar hoses stretched across the street. The counts are essential for future planning and roadway monitoring. The most fundamental type of traffic count measures volume of traffic (how many vehicles) and type of traffic (ratio of cars to trucks). TMACOG staff and interns will be filling requests for traffic counts and also covering specific sites needed to fulfill requirements for the Ohio Department of Transportation.

One of the specific counts needed by ODOT is at screenline locations. Screenlines are imaginary lines that parallel features such as rivers, railways, and municipal boundaries. These routes have a minimum number of crossing points, making it more manageable to count traffic going from one side to the other. Screenline information is used to validate the travel demand model for 2010. To be accurate, the counts must be obtained during calendar years 2009-2011. In 2009, approximately 70% of the required screenline counts were obtained by TMACOG and member jurisdictions.

The second type of counts needed by ODOT is locations on the Highway Performance Monitoring System, or HPMS. The HPMS is a federally mandated inventory system and planning tool designed to assess the nation’s highway system. HPMS includes data on the extent, condition, performance, use, and operating characteristics of highways. These counts will be used to update an associated national database and they must be obtained during the 2009-2014 calendar years. In 2009, as TMACOG focused on the screenline program, nearly 30% of HPMS counts were still obtained throughout the counting season. Between the two programs, there are roughly 1,350 counts that must be obtained.

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