Traffic Engineering Services for Growing Cities in Central Texas- City of Leander

Texas has been a leading state in the expansion of economic opportunities. Consequently, several Central Texas cities top the list of fastest-growing cities in the United States. There has been a sizable increase in residents in smaller suburbs and commuter cities surrounding the City of Austin, including the City of Leander.

 

Challenge

The City of Leander is located 22 miles northwest of Austin. The United States Census Bureau lists the City of Leander as the second fastest-growing city in the nation over the last decade. With a 2010 population of approximately 26,521 and a 2019 population of approximately 62,608, the City of Leander has seen an approximate increase of 136% in population over the last decade. This rapid growth is creating some challenges in housing, public services, and lack of infrastructure including transportation. Some of the challenges in the transportation system include growing levels of congestion, an increase in travel delays and an upsurge in crashes. To adapt to the increase of residents, many smaller cities have been acclimatising by maintaining, developing, and improving their transportation infrastructure.

Traffic engineering consultants assist small cities with traffic and transportation solutions that benefit the public by improving mobility and enhancing roadway safety. Smaller cities can benefit from traffic engineering services such as traffic studies, speed studies, crash analysis, signal warrants, all-way stop warrants, sight distance analysis and other related tasks such as Traffic Impact Analysis reviews.  

Solution

Comprehensive speed studies are used to determine the speed distribution of a traffic stream at free flow speeds at specific locations. Data collected for speed studies is used to estimate general speed trends and to set speed limits. Crash rates are used in conjunction with general speed trends to determine the validity of modifying the existing posted speed limit for a section of roadway. If the crash rate of the segment in question is more than the statewide average, the speed limit may be reduced by up to 12 mph from the 85th percentile speed as stated in pages 3-18 of TxDOT “Procedures for Establishing Speed Zones”. 

RPS conducted a comprehensive speed study along Ronald Reagan Boulevard in Leander, Texas. The Ronald Reagan Boulevard Comprehensive Speed Study was performed to determine a reliable speed limit based on the 85th percentile speed and crash assessments within the study area.

Traffic Signal Design and Planning

Traffic signal design involves a multistep method including the preparation of traffic signal design plans and determination of signal timing and phasing. Traffic signal plans include existing conditions layout, signal layout, electrical schedule, striping layout, and TxDOT/City of Leander standard details. The layouts include configuration and location of proposed traffic signal heads, presence and advance vehicle detection, signal poles, pedestrian equipment, controller cabinet, electrical service, red light indicators (per the request of the Leander Police Department), luminaries, pull boxes, electrical schedule, street name signage, pavement markings with pedestrian crosswalk locations and stop bars, ADA ramps, and other required signal-related traffic signs.

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Signal Warrant Analyses

RPS completed signal warrant analyses at many intersections, including US-183 at Heritage Grove Road, South Bagdad Road at Sonny Drive, West Drive at Sonny Drive, Ronald Reagan Boulevard at Palmera Ridge Boulevard, Bagdad Road at Blueline Drive, Bagdad Road at Collaborative Way and Ronald Reagan Boulevard at Hero Way. 

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RPS assisted the City of Leander with many Traffic Signal Warrant Analyses to evaluate if an intersection may benefit from the installation of a Traffic Signal. A signal may be warranted based on Signal Warrants listed in Part 4C of the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (TMUTCD).  Signal warrant studies involve a comprehensive engineering study that includes a description of the traffic conditions, the characteristics and geometrical configuration of the intersection, description of pedestrian volumes, and crash analysis. There are nine warrants listed in the TMUTCD. Traffic signals are warranted if at least one or more of the warrants described in the TMUTCD are satisfied.

Experts in traffic engineering

RPS utilized the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and other industry best practices to determine the most efficient and cost-effective solutions for roadways and intersections. Through a combination of field work, data collection, and experience, RPS ensured that studies and plans met rigid standards of completeness prior to the first submission, resulting in a minimal need for revisions.

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