Development Type: Industrial
Services Provided: Traffic Impact Study
Sambatek is a professional services firm that specializes in engineering, surveying, planning, and environmental services. We have been providing traffic engineering services for Sambatek for years, since before their name change from MFRA. On a relatively recent industrial site development, the size of the project helped force us to use better project management from proposal to report.
Located in the City of Dayton, the size of the property bumped up the magnitude of the study from a simple Traffic Impact Study (TIS) to an Alternative Urban Areawide Review (AUAR). The TIS is a smaller document generally designed to look at three to four intersections around the site and considering the build-out year or near time impacts. The AUAR is a planning tool in Minnesota used by local governments to evaluate cumulative impacts of anticipated development. AUAR’s will usually include more intersections, more development scenarios, and a long-range timeframe.
For this particular project, the size meant we would examine 12 intersections plus site access intersections, consider 5-year and 20-year development plans in the Cities of Dayton and Rogers, and consider a half dozen potential roadway improvements in the region, such as a new interchange and new arterial roadway adjacent to the site.
While no part of this project by itself was overwhelming, the larger than typical size meant one of the biggest issues was simply managing the project. To ensure all elements were successfully completed, we used a spreadsheet and divided the work into small, manageable tasks to help us see all the elements (meetings, traffic counts, obtain background data, forecasting, Vistro model set-up, analysis, mitigation including warrant analyses if needed, prepare report, and prepare appendix materials). We also added estimated work hours for each task to provide an overall estimate of time necessary for completion. This breakdown also kept us from getting lost in the larger number since staring at a large number can often be discouraging.
Each week, we reviewed the tasks – eliminating hours for those tasks completed and updating remaining estimates with any new information. This served us well when the Vistro model took more time to set-up. With 14 different scenarios, we needed more time for that task than our original estimate. This also meant our report and appendix estimated hours increased to reflect the new information. The appendix, in particular, ended up at over 500 pages of technical material, which takes time to compile in one PDF.
The elimination of hours for also made for an easy visual examination of project status. If half the tasks had no hours next to them, we were 50 percent complete. That allowed a straightforward status update to the Sambatek project manager when asked by just looking at the estimate hours for each task.
Using a spreadsheet for project management will not win any technology awards. But our project team was able to scale-up our efforts to complete a larger-than-average project without displacing other projects or resulting in a mass scramble at the project deadline. Simple worked well for us and provided Sambatek with a successfully completed traffic study for the AUAR.