DOT to compile traffic dataTraffic counting strips are throughout Dickinson because the North Dakota Department of Transportation is doing what it does every three years, tracking the traffic in the state.
By: John Odermann, The Dickinson Press
Traffic counting strips are throughout Dickinson because the North Dakota Department of Transportation is doing what it does every three years, tracking the traffic in the state.
Tracking is done on a three year cycle with the state cut into thirds, said Bob Olzewski, NDDOT senior transportation technician.
Once the data is compiled the DOT puts together traffic density maps for the major cities in each region and the counties so they can be utilized by local governmental entities or business ventures, Olzewski said.
“They go out and they collect all this data throughout town and then they put it on a map for the city, so we have an idea how many cars are on certain parts of the system in a day,” Dickinson City Engineer Shawn Soehren said. “It helps in the design of the roads. How much traffic is on them, how thick do we have to make the pavement, what type of traffic it is, things of that nature.”
The city and state can then use the maps to determine what kind of surfacing should be used.
“Those counts and how traffic trends are changing sometimes will determine if we need to add signals or stops signs even,” Soehren said.
Businesses routinely contact Olzewski and Soehren for traffic information to determine where they will locate.
The NDDOT conducts about 1,600 to 1,700 counts each year, Olzewski said and the cost varies depending on the type of information the state is looking for, but it is relatively low for the information it provides, with only two employees and the counting equipment needed to conduct the counts.
The strips count the number of axles that cross them over a 48-hour period, Olzewski said. Those numbers are then put into a formula that forecasts the traffic on that road over a 365-day period called an Annual Daily Traffic.
This year counts will take place in Bismarck, Dickinson and Mandan, and Adams, Billings, Bowman, Burleigh, Dunn, Emmons, Golden Valley, Grant, Hettinger, McClain, McKenzie, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan, Sioux, Slope and Stark counties.