Chet Skwarcan is an award-winning engineer, writer, and industry innovator in the field of traffic engineering. He is known for leveraging his creativity, logic, and technology to solve today’s engineering challenges.

All Developments Generate Traffic

Today’s column addresses, by far, the most asked question from my readers, “When do you plan to pay back all that money I loaned you?” On second thought, let’s move on to the second most asked question, “What are we going to do about all that traffic?”

This question has become the standard question to ask whenever a new development is proposed near your house (or in your community — unless it’s an ice cream shop or a Taco Bell — then we really don’t care about the traffic — nor should we). Granted, it’s a reasonable question. All development results in more traffic — some more than others — some, a LOT more than others. And as we all know (by now), increased traffic goes hand in hand with living in a desirable community. Maybe there’s a better question, “Is the proposed development consistent with community goals and land use plans?”

If the answer is ‘yes,’ then increasing traffic is no surprise. In fact, it’s a by-product of living in a flourishing community. Should traffic stop increasing, well, now that’s something to be concerned about. The important question then becomes, “How can we best accommodate extra traffic?”

This is where a traffic study quantifies existing traffic patterns, predicts future traffic, and overlays one on top of the other to identify what needs to be done. Recommended improvements such as more turn lanes or traffic control have a common purpose: to maintain accessibility, efficiency, and safety for both the existing and future traffic on the adjacent roadways. How soon we forget — all of us were, at one time, future traffic.

Chet Skwarcan (traffic engineer, author, unique insights) with over 25 years of traffic engineering experience — online help available at