Research Reports

College and University Campuses in Greater Minnesota as Traffic Generators

Principal Investigator:

Barbara J VanDrasek, John S Adams

June 2009

Report no. CTS 09-17

Topics: Planning, Traffic Modeling and Data, Traffic Operations

This report evaluates the significance of selected Minnesota college and university campuses located in regional centers outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan commuter field with respect to the highway traffic that they generate. It examines campuses as places that generate motor vehicle traffic each day, and analyzes the absolute and relative significance of campuses in Greater Minnesota as traffic generators within the counties and wider commuting field in which they are situated.

Expanding upon findings from two previous studies that investigated land development trends and increasing highway traffic for a sample of Minnesota's 49 regional centers and their adjacent commuting fields, the report examines the volume of personnel moving to and from campuses each day, estimates traffic generation rates for different types of schools and their varying impact on traffic generation using trip generation factors supplied by the Institute of Transportation Engineers. It provides 27 campus-based cases, and discusses societal trends likely to affect schools as traffic generators, and concludes with speculations on the implications of these trends for transportation planning in Greater Minnesota.

The geographical scale of analysis matters in assessing the relative impact of a school or campus as a traffic generator. If the impact if extremely local, it is likely to be a city responsibility. If the scale of analysis is the county, both city streets and county roads experience traffic impacts. At the scale of the entire commuting field, state highways may be affected. In this analysis, counties were used as the most appropriate spatial unit of analysis.

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