Traffic Impact Assessments and Traffic Impact Statements

Introduction

Transport systems are a key component of sustainable development because of their dependence on the use of natural resources and their potentially damaging effect on the physical environment.  An evaluation of traffic impacts has become an important consideration in the assessment of planning applications for development projects in many countries where planning principles are increasingly based upon the principles of sustainable development.

An assessment of potential traffic impacts is by way of a Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA).  Historically, TIAs have been used to determine expected traffic increases and to assess the effect on adjacent roads, junctions and accesses.  The basis of assessment has traditionally been the private car and the improvements needed to cater to the private car.  However, TIAs are now being used more in the context of sustainable development with policy initiatives aimed at promoting a more integrated approach to transport planning and greater consideration given to public transport, pedestrians and cyclists.

In Bermuda, there have been a number of traffic studies conducted by or on behalf of the Government.  These studies have been largely focused on the traffic movements in and around the City of Hamilton.   

With the significant growth in the number of vehicles on Bermuda’s roads and traffic congestion related issues, the need to integrate transportation issues into the planning process has become increasingly important.  Since, most new developments result in changes to vehicle and/or pedestrian movements, more recently the Department of Planning has been asking developers to conduct traffic studies as part of major development proposals. 

Traffic issues were seen as a key issue for the City of Hamilton Plan 2001, and the City of Hamilton Plan 2001 introduced the requirement for the submission of traffic impact studies for developments comprising a gross floor area of 50,000 sq. feet or more.  Similarly, the Ministry of Transport’s National Transportation Management Report 2002 recognized the important relationship between transportation planning and land use planning, and recommended that applicants be required to submit traffic impact studies as well as environmental impact statements for all major development projects.

Under section 3 and the First Schedule of the Development and Planning Act 1974, the Development Applications Board (the Board) is authorized to determine applications for planning permission.  In its assessment and determination of a planning application, it is essential that the Board has all the pertinent information relating to a proposed development to ensure that a development does not have any adverse impacts on the natural, human or built environments of a site or its surrounding area, and to ensure that any such impacts are reduced and appropriately mitigated.  This includes information regarding the traffic impacts of a development.

This planning policy guidance note has been prepared to assist developers in providing the necessary information for projects which may require a Traffic Impact Assessment and a Traffic Impact Statement.  It is based on the UK Institution of Highways and Transportation Guidelines on Traffic Impact Assessment (1994).

The carrying out of a TIA and the submission of a TIS are usually required for large scale development proposals.  However, there may be other types of development or changes of use which may require a TIA.  

Policy TPT.2, chapter 12 of the Bermuda Plan 2018 outlines the criteria under which a proposal may require a TIA and a TIS. 

Policy TPT.2 The Board may require the submission of a Traffic Impact Statement for large scale developments comprising a gross floor area of 50,000 sq. ft. or more, or in other instances where the characteristics of the site or the particulars of the proposal justify the Board carrying out a careful examination of the potential traffic impacts of the development prior to the determination of the application.

If a proposal is also required under policy ENV.4, chapter 6 of the Bermuda Plan 2018 to submit an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the details of the TIS may be included as part of the EIS.

There are 8 main steps in the process of conducting a Traffic Impact Assessment and submitting a Traffic Impact Statement, although not every development proposal is required to go through every step of the process.

This flow diagram illustrates the main steps in the TIA/TIS process and those parties involved in each.

One of the main purposes of the TIA/TIS process is to fulfil the need for early preliminary consultations with parties which have an interest in the likely traffic effects of a proposed development.  While a developer is under no formal obligation to consult interested parties about a proposal before the submission of a formal planning application, for certain development proposals it may be prudent to do so, particularly where the potential traffic impacts are significant.  Discussing the feasibility of a proposal with the Highways Section of the Ministry of Works and Engineering prior to lodging a planning application, for instance, may lead to major cost savings for a developer or potential developer.   The timing of preliminary consultations is at the developer’s discretion but it is advantageous if these consultations take place as soon as the developer is in a position to provide sufficient information about the proposal to form a basis for discussion. Screening Self screen A developer can determine whether a TIA/TIS is required for a proposal by conducting a ‘self-screen’ of the proposal as follows:-
    Check policy TPT.2, chapter 12 of the Bermuda Plan 2018 Planning Statement to see if the proposal fits the criteria of proposals that may require a TIA/TIS.
  • Check the proposal and determine if it would create any potentially adverse traffic impacts.
  • If in doubt, check with the Department of Planning to see whether a TIA/TIS may be required for the proposed development.
Department of Planning Screening Where there is a possibility that a proposed development will require a TIA/TIS, the developer is advised to consult the Department of Planning well in advance of submitting a planning application. In order for the Department of Planning to determine or screen whether a proposal requires a TIA/TIS, the Department of Planning will require the developer to submit basic information regarding the proposal.  This basic information must include a site plan with the boundaries of the site of the proposed development clearly identified, a brief description of the nature, purpose, scope, size and location of the proposal and its likely vehicular and pedestrian movements to and from the site. This screening process enables a developer to gain a clear opinion from the Department of Planning on the need for a TIA/TIS well before reaching the stage of submitting a formal planning application.  This helps to minimize the possibility of delay or uncertainty at the planning application stage. Scoping TIAs vary in scope and complexity.  A TIA may be a comprehensive study of traffic impacts for a major development or a short statement of the traffic effects for a smaller proposal or a change of use.  Alternatively, if there are a number of development proposals planned for a number of sites in the same area for the same time, it may be more efficient to conduct a comprehensive traffic study for a wider area.  Therefore, prior to embarking on a TIA, it is strongly advised that a developer consult with the Department of Planning to agree the content and scope of the TIA/TIS including the data to be considered and/or collected, the area of analysis, key junctions to be considered, methodologies to be used, and the assessment years reflecting the proposal’s size and complexity. A meeting between the developer and technical officers at the Department of Planning should take place to discuss the proposal and the issues involved.  Other relevant consultees, in particular technical officers from the Highways Section of the Ministry of Works and Engineering may also be involved at this stage. Based on the scoping meeting and discussions, the developer is required to submit a Scoping Document to the Department of Planning which outlines the main parameters of the proposal and an outline of the information to be included in the TIS.  Appendix 1 provides an outline of the information required in a Scoping Document. Appendix 2 provides a check list of information that should be considered for inclusion in a TIS, and it is recommended that this check list be used to help determine the scope of the TIA and TIS. 

Conducting the Traffic Impact Assessment

The TIA is a detailed process, undertaken by the developer, by which the traffic flows and impacts of the proposed development should be identified and measured in an objective manner. It is up to the developer to decide on the TIA team.  However, specialized traffic or planning consultants or highway engineers are recommended particularly for the larger or more complex schemes.  For smaller proposals, a TIA may be prepared by any suitably experienced practitioner with practice in or familiar with traffic generation rates.  The TIA process involves the following:-
  • Assessing existing conditions or baseline traffic levels (vehicular and pedestrian) at the development site and surrounding area;
  • Projecting traffic flows to and from the development at key junctions in the surrounding area (by vehicle type, daily/weekly movements, at site preparation, construction and operational stages);
  • Evaluating the significance and impact on the existing transport network;
  • Evaluating what changes are required to accommodate the additional traffic and mitigate any adverse impacts.

Preparation of the Traffic Impact Assessment

The developer is responsible for preparing the TIS and it is up to the developer to decide on the team to prepare the TIS.   The TIS should provide an impartial and objective description of the impacts and traffic effects of a proposed development.  The TIS should be clear and concise, and the bases for all assumptions must be clearly set out and detailed.  Wherever possible plans and diagrams should be included. The coverage and detail of the TIS should reflect the scale of development and the extent of the transport implications of the proposal.  A full and detailed assessment of how vehicle and pedestrian movements to and from a development site might affect existing road and pedestrian networks should be provided as well as any other information necessary for the Board to make a determination of the traffic impacts of a proposal. Policy TPT.3, chapter 12 of the Bermuda Plan 2018 Planning Statement provides an outline of what information should be included in a TIS:- Policy TPT.3 A Traffic Impact Statement shall include the appropriate plans, information and data in sufficient detail to enable the Board to determine, examine and assess the potential traffic impacts of the proposal including but not limited to:  
  • baseline traffic levels (vehicular and pedestrian) at the development site and surrounding area;
  • projected traffic flows to and from the development at key junctions in the surrounding area (by vehicle type, daily/weekly movements, at site preparation, construction and operational stages);
  • potential traffic impacts (volume/capacity, noise, pollution, safety, visual intrusion);
  • provisions for new access roads, improvements to existing roads and junctions, feeder lanes, pedal cycle lanes and facilities, parking, sidewalks and pedestrian crossings;
  • the measures to be implemented to avoid, reduce or remedy any adverse effects; and
  • Any other information detailed in the Department of Planning’s Traffic Impact Assessment and Statement Guidance Note.
Appendix 2 provides a further check list of information that should be considered for inclusion in a TIS.  Each proposal is different and certain information listed in Appendix 2 may not be relevant or required for every proposal.  The precise information that should be included in the TIS will depend on the project and which information is relevant to the particular proposal as agreed to in the Scoping Document.   The TIS should summarise its conclusions in a non-technical summary and make a recommendation to the effect that either there will be little or no adverse impact on the transport network (and no road/junction improvements required), or that some alterations are required to minimize the adverse impacts, or that the proposed development is inappropriate for the site and no satisfactory mitigation measures can be recommended.  There is no prescribed format for TIS, however the following format can be used as a guide:-
  • Table of contents
  • Non-technical summary and recommendation
  • Description of the proposed development
  • Description of the proposal site
  • Baseline traffic levels at the development site and surrounding area
  • Projected traffic flows to and from the development at key junctions in the surrounding area
  • Assessment of potential traffic impacts
  • Description of proposed changes to the road infrastructure including any mitigation measures
  • Public consultation and involvement including Government and non-government agencies and the general public
  • List of references
  • Appendices
  • Scoping Document
  • List of personnel who conducted the TIA and prepared the TIS
  • Data/survey results from TIA
  • Site plans, schematic drawings etc.
  • Relevant planning history, relevant correspondence etc.

Submission of the Traffic Impact Statement

To enable the Department of Planning to process a planning application as quickly as possible, it is in the developer’s interest to submit the TIS at the same time as submitting the planning application.  

A TIS should ideally be submitted with an in principle planning application as opposed to a final planning application.  This allows for traffic issues to be reviewed, understood and assessed at the early stages of the project’s planning and design stages.  

The developer is required to provide the Department of Planning with a sufficient number of copies of the TIS to enable copies to be sent to consultees as necessary.  The precise number of copies will depend on the project but a minimum of 5 copies should be provided.

Appraisal of the Traffic Impact Statement

Technical officers within the Department of Planning will evaluate the TIS and the merits of the planning application.  The Department of Planning may seek advice from statutory consultees or other suitably qualified persons or organisations to help evaluate the TIS, in particular technical officers in the Highways Section of the Ministry of Works and Engineering.

Determination of the Traffic Impact Statement and Planning Application

Following consideration of the TIS and the planning application, the technical officers in the Department of Planning will make a recommendation to the Board.  In turn, the Board will make a determination and decide that:-

  • The proposal should be approved, with or without conditions;
  • The proposal should be refused for certain reasons;
  • The proposal should be deferred for a decision at a later date.

It should be noted that the Department of Planning may not grant final planning approval for a development until all road works required outside the curtilage of the development site have been satisfactorily completed, as stated in policy TPT.7, chapter 12 of the Bermuda Plan 2018.

Policy TPT.7 In cases where road improvements are required outside the curtilage of the development site to accommodate the development, the Board may require those works to be completed prior to granting final approval.

As with any planning application, the applicant or a third party has the right to appeal the decision of the Board by submitting an appeal to the Minister responsible for the Environment.

A Scoping Document should contain the information listed below.  The checklist in Appendix 2 should also be used to help determine the scope of the TIA and TIS:
  • A brief description of the proposed development including timelines for construction
  • A brief description of the proposal site as well as a site plan showing boundaries of the site, buildings and structures, roads, access points, parking and zoning boundaries etc.
  • A brief description of what methodologies and traffic studies will be used to establish baseline road and traffic conditions
  • A brief description of what methodologies and traffic studies will be used to estimate project future traffic flows
  • An identification of potential traffic impacts of primary concern
  • An identification of any known or anticipated information gaps
  • An identification of the sort of mitigation measures anticipated
  • A description of the structure and content of the proposed TIS report structure
  • The names, qualifications and role of those persons involved in conducting the TIA and preparing the TIS
  • A list of key organisations and stakeholders to be consulted in the TIA process and methods of public consultation

This checklist is intended to be used as a guide for preliminary discussions on the scope of a TIA and a TIS.  The precise information that should be included in a TIS will depend on the particular project and it is unlikely that all the items listed will be relevant to any one project.  

The main components of a TIS

A TIS should contain 5 main components of information:-

  • A description of the baseline traffic levels and road conditions of the site and surrounding area
  • A description of the proposed development
  • An assessment of projected traffic flows
  • An assessment of the potential traffic impacts
  • A description of the provisions for accommodating the projected traffic flows including mitigation measures

In addition, the TIS should include a non-technical summary.

(1)  A description of the baseline traffic levels and existing road conditions of the site and surrounding area 

A description of the baseline traffic levels and existing road conditions of the site and surrounding area should be provided including details of the following:-

      • the site’s regulatory framework including land use planning zonings and relevant transport and parking policies in the Bermuda Plan 2018
      • committed highway works in the area
      • future developments with final planning approval in the area
      • existing traffic volumes and turning movements at key junctions in and around the site by modal type (cars, bikes, commercial vehicles) to indicate daily and hourly volumes (including peak hour) as well as seasonal differences if applicable (e.g. school times, tourist season etc.)
      • queue times at key junctions
      • type of roads (public, estate etc.) within the site and surrounding area
      • existing parking provision (type of parking – car/bike/service vehicles/disabled/taxi, number of spaces, dimensions, turnarounds)
      • existing public transport facilities in the area (bus, ferry, minibus)
      • existing pedestrian and bicycle movements in the area
      • existing access points for vehicles and pedestrians
      • examination of historic accident records on the roads in the area of the proposal

(2)  A description of the proposed development 

A description of the proposed development and transport related issues should include details of the following:-

      • current use of the site and its recent usage history
      • the purpose and objectives of the proposed development and why the site is appropriate for the development proposed
      • proposed use and the characteristics of the development (including its size, uses, number of units, square footage) during the construction and operational phases (including site plans)
      • proposed phasing of development
      • new/upgraded road infrastructure, access, internal road and circulation layout, service vehicle arrangements, and phasing of new/upgraded road work
      • proposed parking facilities (type of parking – car/bike/service vehicles/disabled/taxi, number of spaces, dimensions, turnarounds)
      • Provisions for emergency vehicles, service/delivery vehicles, waste collection services, heavy goods vehicles etc.
      • proposed sidewalks and street improvements

 (3)  An assessment of projected traffic flows

An assessment of projected traffic flows should provide details of how many trips the proposed development will generate, and the distribution and routing of those trips:-

        • number of trips generated specified by direction and vehicle type for weekdays, peak hours, development peak, by phase of development including construction phases, seasonal variations (e.g. school term, tourist season etc.)
        • number of trips previously attracted to an alternative site (i.e. transfer trips)
        • traffic flow routes to and from the site, at each junction and turning movements
        • traffic growth over time (from the development, on the surrounding road network etc.) estimated at the base year (first year of full operation) and base year plus 10 years
        • queue times at key junctions
        • traffic flows taking account of committed highway and development proposals in the area that affect traffic conditions
        • methodologies used

(4)  An assessment of the potential traffic impacts

An assessment of the potential traffic impacts should include details of the following:-

        • the positive and/or negative; cumulative; short, medium and/or long term; permanent and/or temporary; direct and/or indirect traffic impacts of the proposal on the site and on the access points, roads and junctions in the surrounding area (both during construction and operational phases)
        • the adequacy of any road/junction improvements to be constructed with each phase of development
        • road safety both in terms of vehicular and pedestrian safety
        • traffic effects impacting the environment and amenity of the local community including noise, vibration, visual impact, community severance, pedestrian amenity, air pollution, dust and dirt, hazardous loads, ecological impacts, and built heritage
        • traffic impacts on neighbouring residential areas
        • compliance with Bermuda Plan 2018 Planning, chapter 12, Transportation and Parking policies
        • compatibility with any Ministry of Works and Engineering road/sidewalk improvement schemes, the Ministry of Transport’s National Transportation Management initiatives, and any other relevant road infrastructure programmes

(5)  A description of the provisions for accommodating the projected traffic flows including mitigation measures

A description of the provisions for accommodating the projected traffic flows including any mitigation measures should include details of the following:-

        • new or improved road, access and junction arrangements, roundabouts and turning lanes
        • installation or upgrading of traffic signals, resetting of traffic signals, road signs, street lighting
        • new or improved sidewalks and traffic calming measures
        • new or improved public transport facilities (bus/ferry stop, bus layby, bus shelter, minibus service)
        • new or improved facilities for pedal cyclists (pedal cycle lanes, pedal cycle parking, shower facilities)
        • land acquisitions, landscaping schemes
        • traffic management plans, carpooling initiatives, flexible working hours, green travel plans

The provision of new or improved sidewalks should be carefully considered and addressed in the TIS where appropriate.  It should be noted that policy TPT.8, chapter 12 of the Bermuda Plan 2018 Planning Statement states that the upgrading or creation of a new sidewalk may be required for developments along public roads in order to improve pedestrian access:-

Policy TPT.8 In order to improve pedestrian access and the movement of traffic, the Board may require a development proposal on a site which borders a main public road, to include the construction or upgrading of a public sidewalk along the entire length of the lot line that borders the public road and/or improvements to the public road.

The access needs of persons with disabilities and elderly persons should also be carefully considered (see Accessibility Guidance Note GN115) and addressed in the TIS where appropriate.

Letters of objection and/or representation should be emailed to planningfrontdesk@gov.bm referencing the PLAN or SUB number in the subject line.

Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building, 5th Floor, 58 Court Street Hamilton, HM12, Bermuda

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