Traffic Counting Policies for the Pandemic

a countCAM3+ mounted to a light pole with a modified mount and orange ratchet.

Should we be collecting traffic data right now?  The answer is – it depends.  FHWA is leaving it up to each state to develop guidance around traffic data collection during the pandemic because local traffic conditions vary widely.

Our present conditions may look normal two years from now.  Land uses related to travel, retail, and offices may have been permanently altered by the pandemic.  I know our office situation has forever changed at Spack Solutions.  We can’t go back in time to collect data, so agencies should collect the data needed for historical context.

Property development and infrastructure improvement projects are continuing.  Data required for engineering analyses need to be collected or estimated in a way the analyzing engineer can ethically defend.  We are analyzing a lot more scenarios in our engineering studies to ensure we are confident in our recommendations.  We’re also looking at data sources such as Inrix and Street Light Data.

A few agencies, as well as consultants, have published guidance.  In case you’re interested, here’s a roundup of what your peers are doing: