Traffic Engineering

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Traffic Engineering is a branch of civil engineering which deals with the planning, geometric design and traffic operations of roads, streets, and highways. It further analyzes the roadway networks, terminals, abutting lands and relationships with other modes of transportation for the achievement of safe, efficient, and convenient movement of persons and goods.

Traffic Engineering applies engineering principles to help solve transportation problems and safety issues, and brings into play a knowledge of psychology and habits of all users of the transportation systems. It focuses mainly on research for safe and efficient traffic flow, such as:

  • Road Geometry
  • Road Surface Markings
  • Segregated Cycle Facilities
  • Shared Lane Markings
  • Sidewalks/Crosswalks
  • Traffic Signals & Traffic Signs

The purpose of traffic engineering is to then maximize the safety of all users by applying the research, tendencies, and principles while maintaining the maximum level of efficiency in transporting both the system users and the goods they are moving.

In 2011, the City of Billings adopted a Complete Streets Policy. This resolution defines a complete street as a road that has design features that contribute to a safe, convenient, or comfortable travel experience for all users. More generally, a complete street is one that accounts for not only vehicles, but also bicycles, pedestrians, transit, and users of all ages and abilities. This policy has placed added importance to the design and education of all types of users of the public roadways and the interaction between the different users.

Seasonal Adjustment Factor & Traffic Count Maps

The City of Billings collects traffic volumes at over 300 locations throughout the Billings Metropolitan Planning Organization’s boundaries. These locations are divided in half and counted every other year. Check out our INTERACTIVE TRAFFIC COUNT MAP, or select from the links below:

Seasonal Adjustment FactorsTraffic Count Maps
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  1. Engineering Services Office

    Physical Address
    2224 Montana Avenue
    Billings, MT 59101

  1. Traffic Calming
  2. Intersection Control
  3. Stop Signs
  4. Traffic Signals
  5. Roundabouts
  6. Crosswalks

Institute of Transportation Engineers is an international agency that defines traffic calming as changes in street alignment, installation of barriers, and other physical measures to reduce traffic speeds and cut-through volumes in the interest of street safety, livability, and other public purposes. 

Traffic calming is typically classified as either speed or volume control. The City of Billings will not typically implement volume control retroactively, but more information this type of traffic calming can be found at the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) website

Speed Control Sub-Types

The City has implemented speed control traffic calming in numerous locations. This type can be further classified into three different sub-types: 

Horizontal Measures


Vertical Measures

Horizontal measures force the vehicles to slow down before safely navigating around them. Curves and angle points are introduced within the road's alignment to decrease the driver's comfort level. The decrease in driver comfort results in the driver slowing down. 
Realigned intersections, roundabouts, and alternating angled parking are some of the examples of horizontal measures used within the City.
Narrowings alter driving habits by confining the comfort zone of drivers. The more "cramped" a driver feels, the more they will slow down. Narrowing streets also brings the added benefit of narrowed crossings for pedestrians. 
The narrow street crossings will lessen the time a pedestrian needs to spend within the roadway. Curb bulb-outs are the typical narrowings used in numerous locations across the City.
Vertical measures force vehicles to slow down before driving over them. Speed humps are the standard vertical measure most often used within the City of Billings. It should be noted that speed "bumps" are not allowed within the City's public streets. 
Speed "bumps" are more abrupt and are typically used in the parking lots of large retail shops (such as Target, Costco, and shopping malls). Speed bumps do too much damage to vehicles, and more importantly, impact fire trucks and ambulances too severely.

Neighborhood Traffic Calming

The City currently does not have a funding source for neighborhood traffic calming. Therefore, it falls on the individual neighborhoods to fund a localized project. Typically, this funding is raised through a Special Improvement District (SID)

Resolution 13854 Neighborhood Traffic Control, provides information on the City Policy to preserve residential neighborhood integrity by discouraging through traffic in these areas.