Traffic Impacts Analysis

Traffic data for the network of existing roadways must be reviewed to determine the potential traffic impacts that may occur as a result of equipment delivery and construction vehicles entering and exiting the project site during construction. In addition, traffic data should be analyzed to determine whether alteration of access roads may be necessary for the operation of the project after construction is complete.

In analyzing traffic data, one important measure often used is the "Level of Service." Level of Service is a measure of operational conditions along any given stretch of road. It describes traffic conditions in terms of speed and travel time, freedom to maneuver, traffic interruptions, comfort, convenience, and safety. It is based on a grading system ranging from Level of Service A (free flow) to Level of Service F (forced flow). During construction it is typically anticipated that local traffic may experience minor delays due to the slower-moving equipment delivery and construction vehicles. Determining the existing Level of Service, average daily traffic, and design capacity can assist in the assessment of impacts during construction. Although the impacts on traffic during construction are temporary, the existing Level of Service establishes a baseline condition that helps in determining the degree of mitigation measures required.

Accident data also are important in the analysis of potential impacts. Locations with high accident rates can be identified and targeted for improvement in the mitigation process.

Analysis of the operating conditions of the intersections along the route also is required to determine impacts at these locations. The existing traffic control devices such as yield signs, stop signs, or traffic signal systems need to be assessed for Level of Service. Intersections that are over capacity or are operating poorly will need to be singled out for improvement. Many intersections used by oversized construction vehicles will require radius improvements to accommodate these vehicles. The degree of improvement should be determined on an intersection-by-intersection basis. Some intersections may require only geometric improvements while others will require a combination of geometric improvements and upgraded traffic control devices.

Traffic volume data on state, county, and local roads in and around a proposed wind energy project site should be available from the state or county. Subsequent to the on-site traffic evaluation, a transportation engineer visits the proposed wind energy project site to confirm the analysis. In addition, after completion of the on-site traffic evaluation, the transportation engineer meets with local and state regulatory agencies to begin consultation about the proposed project.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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