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.

Traffic Problems are a Good Thing

Traffic Problems are a Bad Thing

Sometimes I wonder why all the fuss about traffic. But then I remember that’s how I make my living and then I think, “You know, traffic is pretty bad,” and also, “It’s getting worse every day — why doesn’t someone do a study?” And then I get out my random-traffic-solution-generator and spin the wheel. “What?!? A roundabout? Again?” (and if you already have a roundabout how about adding another lane and making it a double lane roundabout — just kidding — one lane is plenty).

Reducing traffic problems (or better yet, preventing traffic problems) actually is a serious task (albeit overlooked). Human nature is to procrastinate — to wait until there’s a problem, complaint, or worse yet — an election. What most communities do not realize is most traffic problems can be alleviated (well, except for proper use of turn signals).

For instance, out of the 17,342 traffic studies performed to date, 45% were associated with new development (“What are we going to do about all that traffic?”), 30% associated with speed limits and calming traffic in neighborhoods, 25% associated with retiming traffic signals or adding turn arrows (traffic volumes and patterns do change over time), and 35% with reducing congestion (“Our community is growing, people want to move here, we have more and more traffic — what are the options?”). The remaining percentage includes a variety of issues such as adding turn lanes, 4-way stops, roundabout evaluation (or roundabout fixing), school traffic, speed studies, traffic counts (video, radar, drones, rubber hoses, homo sapiens) and of course, proper use of turn signals.

The important thing is this: as a community grows and thrives, traffic increases (a good thing). And as traffic increases, traffic problems increase (a bad thing). But, traffic growth can be anticipated, forecasted, studied, and mitigated. Solutions exist to help plan, tweak, and resolve all 135% of traffic concerns (except for that one thing).


Chet Skwarcan (traffic engineer, author, unique insights) with over 25 years of traffic engineering experience — online help available at or leave a note on my door.