Toxics Action Center
Toxics Action Center

Traffic Impacts

Gather Data

If the development is a landfill/incinerator/power plant:

  • The facility’s permit application will have information about how many tons of garbage, coal, etc. it can accept per day.
  • If it burns what it receives, there will also be ash that needs to be trucked out.
  • Someone at your town or county planning office will be able to tell you how many tons a typical truck going to the landfill can haul. You might also see what kinds of trucks that industry uses in other towns.
  • From this you can figure out how many trucks would be needed to haul the full permitted amount. Remember that trucks go in and out, so they go by your house (or school) twice for every trip.

If the development is already built, collect your own traffic data! Divide up the work, go to the street of concern and count. Take a camera or video camera with you. This helps the count, and provides proof if there is a dispute. Sometimes just the act of videotaping can cause owners to re-route trucks.

If there’s a proposed expansion that you’re trying to stop, try to figure out how much traffic there would be if the traffic doubles or triples. See Community Data Collection Options for more tips.

Explore Strategies

Think about what aspect you want to highlight.

  • Diesel exhaust? You can calculate how many tons of different kinds of pollution would be emitted every year.
  • Noise and nuisance? Record the noise. Think about how many miles of road the traffic would take up, lined bumper to bumper.
  • Wear and tear on the roads, paid for by taxpayers? See Economic Options for ideas.
  • Problem is worst at peak times? See Inside Averages to think about how to shift the focus from a daily or weekly average to a description of peak times.

Make Your Case

When you have the key information you want to communicate to decision-makers or to the community, Communicating with Numbers helps you make your case effectively in words, images, and fact sheets. Specific examples about truck traffic are included in Memorable Messages and Memorable Graphs.