The Development Plan’s impact on roads on or near the campus, including 55 intersections, was analyzed using standard techniques for Traffic Impact Analysis. Three scenarios are considered:

  • Existing conditions (the traffic levels in 2017);
  • No-Build conditions (the forecast conditions in 2024 if the Development Plan projects did not exist); and
  • Build conditions (the forecast conditions in 2024 including the effects of the Development Plan projects).

The existing conditions were measured using traffic counts collected in fall 2017 on days when the University was in session. Because similar analyses were undertaken in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015, changes in traffic levels can be tracked. The No-Build conditions are forecast by applying annual growth rates to the existing traffic levels. The Build conditions are forecast by taking the No-Build traffic levels and adding the trips due to Development Plan projects. These trips are estimated from the forecast parking changes (described above), using known trip rates per parking space.

Table 2-1 shows the average daily traffic volumes (ADTs) in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 along with the No-Build and Build forecasts for 2024. Figure 2.1 illustrates the two forecasts for 2024.

Traffic volumes have generally remained stable, or, in some cases, decreased, since the 2007 counts. Possible reasons include the ongoing development and implementation of the University’s Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program, including full subsidy of regional transit ridership on GoTriangle, PART and Chatham Transit, and improvements to the bicycling infrastructure in the Town and on campus.

In the No-Build scenario, background traffic growth is expected to produce increased volumes. This is normal for growing areas such as Chapel Hill.

In the Build scenario, the further increase in traffic along most campus roads is expected to be minimal, although some intersections near proposed parking facilities will see specific turning movements increase noticeably. In some areas where parking is being eliminated, some turning movements will decrease compared to the No-Build scenario. The largest increase in traffic volumes will be on Manning Drive.

Link # Roadway 2001 ADT 2003 ADT 2005 ADT 2006 ADT 2007 ADT 2009 ADT 2011 ADT 2013 ADT 2015 ADT 2017 ADT 2017-2024 Annual Growth Rate Projected 2024 No-Build ADT Projected 2024 Build ADT
1 S. Columbia St. (south of Franklin St.) 20,720 19,060 17,530 17,530 15,410 14,380 14,663 16,329 15,783 1.7% 17,700 18,700
2 Raleigh St. (south of Franklin St.) 14,470 10,710 13,080 13,080 11,020 11,710 9,910 10,514 10,450 11,031 0.6% 11,500 11,700
3 Cameron Ave. (west of Pittsboro St.) 9,820 8,300 8,510 7,630 9,260 7,220 6,693 7,558 7,710 0.9% 8,200 9,100
4 Cameron Ave. (east of S. Columbia St.) 9,070 8,330 6,430 6,430 5,270 5,540 5,910 4,679 4,881 4,616 1.2% 5,000 7,300
5 Country Club Rd. (north of South Rd.) 13,470 14,080 12,200 12,200 12,990 11,960 11,260 10,726 12,534 13,060 0.7% 13,700 14,500
6 South Rd. (east of Columbia St.) 10,460 8,840 11,400 8,400 7,430 8,370 8,593 9,649 9,209 1.7% 10,300 10,400
7 South Rd. (east of Raleigh St.) 9,840 10,000 12,890 12,890 7,500 7,510 7,730 7,944 7,744 7,802 2.0% 8,900 9,000
8 Pittsboro St. (south of McCauley St.) 10,960 10,070 10,920 9,550 9,750 8,810 8,061 8,487 8,632 1.4% 9,500 11,100
9 Manning Dr. (east of Columbia St.) 14,100 13,220 12,480 12,480 11,070 11,060 10,020 10,713 11,298 11,828 1.4% 13,000 15,300
10 Ridge Rd. (north of Manning Dr.) 8,320 7,870 7,300 7,300 7,910 8,730 8,110 7,819 7,216 7,594 2.0% 8,700 10,300
11 S. Columbia St. (south of Mason Farm Rd.) 18,470 18,250 16,190 16,090 15,430 14,760 13,982 15,480 16,285 1.3% 17,700 19,900
12 Manning Dr. (east of Ridge Rd.) 17,260 14,680 17,880 17,880 15,680 16,150 14,660 15,734 15,879 17,023 0.9% 18,100 19,300
13 Franklin St. (west of Raleigh St.) 17,000 19,260 18,850 19,320 16,250 14,370 14,605 14,895 16,228 0.9% 17,200 17,300
14 Franklin St. (east of Boundary St.) 23,560 20,190 20,190 24,730 17,390 16,770 16,614 16,620 16,327 0.9% 17,300 17,400
15 Boundary St. (south of Franklin St.) 3,230 2,320 2,320 2,140 2,230 2,400 2,225 2,008 2,581 0.6% 2,700 2,800
16 Mason Farm Rd. (east of S. Columbia St.) 7,700 8,230 3,400 3,400 8,390 7,330 6,910 6,314 6,755 6,746 2.0% 7,700 9,100
17 Mason Farm Rd. (north of Fordham Blvd.) 1,360 770 1,830 1,820 1,770 1,730 1,720 1,546 1,596 0.4% 1,600 1,700
18 Purefoy Rd. (east of Columbia St.)* 970 970 1,130 1,360 1,450 2,070 1,705 1,747 2,044 0.4% 2,100 2,200
19 US 15-501 (west of Main St.) 17,840 17,080 16,770 19,993 20,801 22,587 2.0% 25,800 26,400
20 US 15-501 (east of Culbreth Rd.) 30,480 30,000 30,310 30,570 28,390 31,867 35,429 38,238 2.0% 43,600 44,800
21 NC 54 (west of Hamilton Rd.) 45,400 44,000 47,940 43,470 41,230 41,388 48,286 51,099 2.0% 58,300 60,800
22 NC 54 (east of East Barbee Chapel Hill Rd.) 32,100 37,390 36,320 39,967 44,174 46,875 2.0% 53,400 55,600

Source: Table 4-9 of Development Plan TIA, December 2017

Delays at intersections are measured in terms of the Level of Service (LOS) in the peak hour. LOS ranges from A through F, based on the average control delay (the delay due to signals, stop signs, etc.). Table 2-2 explains the LOS categories. In urban areas, level D or above is generally regarded as acceptable for signalized intersections. At unsignalized intersections, level E or above on the side street is generally regarded as acceptable, although it is recognized that side streets typically function at level F because the traffic volumes often do not warrant a traffic signal to assist the side street traffic.

Table 2-2: Level of Service Descriptions for Intersections
Level of Service Description Delay at a Signalized Intersection Delay at an Unsignalized Intersection
A Little or no delay 10 seconds or less 10 seconds or less
B Short traffic delay 10-20 seconds 10-15 seconds
C Average traffic delay 20-35 seconds 15-25 seconds
D Long traffic delay 35-55 seconds 25-35 seconds
E Very long traffic delay 55-80 seconds 35-50 seconds
F Unacceptable delay More than 80 seconds More than 50 seconds

Table 2.3 summarizes the LOS at each intersection for each scenario. Each cell includes the overall LOS at the intersection and the LOS for the worst-performing approach.

The levels of service at most intersections have remained the same or even improved since 2015. At most intersections, the overall level of service is acceptable, although some minor street approaches are suffering some longer delays.

The following sections discuss some of the intersections that are shown to be experiencing long peak period delays or that have been identified by the Town of Chapel Hill and/or the North Carolina Department of Transportation for pedestrian safety concerns.

Manning Drive at Fordham Boulevard

The University has provided new traffic signal timings for this intersection, yet this intersection continues to experience the worst delays and peak period queues of the intersections immediately adjacent to the campus. The University prepared traffic signal plans in coordination with staff of the Town of Chapel Hill and NCDOT to upgrades at this intersection as well as at the adjacent intersection of Old Mason Farm Road at Fordham Boulevard. The proposed upgrades included crosswalk markings, wheelchair ramps, countdown pedestrian signals, pedestrian push-buttons, a new, larger pedestrian refuge island, and warning signs with flashing beacons for approaching drivers on Fordham Boulevard. The intent of these improvements is to provide a safer environment for pedestrians crossing the streets at each intersection. The improvements have been completed.

US 15-501 at Europa Drive/Erwin Road

At the time of data collection for the 2007 TIA Update, the intersection of US 15-501 at Europa Drive/Erwin Road was still operating as a conventional intersection. However, during January 2008, this intersection was converted to a synchronized street (formerly referred to as a superstreet), which, according to the staff of NCDOT, has improved traffic flow on 15-501. The synchronized street section of US 15-501 at Europa Drive and Erwin Road was fully operational when traffic data was collected in the fall of 2013 and is still operating as a synchronized street in 2017.

All of the individual intersections that make up the synchronized street section are operating at LOS C or better.

Although the synchronized street at this location has improved traffic flow in this section of the corridor, a Major Investment Study (MIS) concluded that the size of the problem along 15-501 requires a large-scale integrated multimodal solution.

South Columbia Street at Cameron Avenue

This intersection marks the north end of the South Columbia Street-Pittsboro Street one-way pair. It experiences a high volume of pedestrian and bicycle traffic and results in traffic queues along Cameron Avenue to Raleigh Street and South Columbia Street. The Town and NCDOT coordinated on a project to implement special traffic signal phasing at this intersection which includes a pedestrians-only phase. The intent of the new traffic signal phasing is to provide a safer environment for pedestrians crossing the streets at this intersection. The new phasing for this intersection was in operation during the collection of traffic data for the 2017 update of the development plan traffic impact analysis study.

Some unsignalized intersections are experiencing long delays on the minor approaches. These intersections are discussed below:

Country Club Road at Battle Lane/Boundary Street

This intersection was the subject of a special study during the analysis for Modification No. 1 of the UNC Development Plan. An outcome of that study was the implementation of measures to control the movement of pedestrians in the vicinity of this unsignalized intersection. Town staff has indicated that Town may wish to coordinate with the University to revisit the study of this intersection to determine the need for further upgrades. During discussions prior to the 2011 TIA update, staff of the Town expressed a desire to assess if peak period conditions merit additional improvements. Although some movements have experienced increased volume since 2007, no additional improvements are recommended at this time. The University will continue to monitor conditions at this intersection. In the past, staff of the Town of Chapel Hill has suggested the addition of an exclusive westbound left turn lane at the intersection of Country Club Road at Raleigh Street. Due to the complexity and constraints of this improvement (impacts on existing stone walls, adjacent property, and trees) it was determined that the assessment of these options be postponed.

In the No-Build (2024) scenario (that is, without the Development Plan projects), the intersections with poor LOS performance in 2017 will continue to perform poorly in 2024. In addition, the background traffic growth will make some other intersections perform poorly. In particular, the following intersections are currently operating at LOS D or better but show a LOS E or F in the No-Build (2024) scenario:

  • The intersection of Columbia Street at Manning Drive is to operate at LOS F during the PM peak hour in the No-Build (2024) scenario.
  • The intersection of Columbia Street at Fordham Boulevard (northern ramp) is projected to operate at LOS E during the PM peak hour in the No-Build (2024) scenario.
  • The intersection of Manning Drive at Fordham Boulevard is projected to operate at LOS F during the PM peak hour in the No-Build (2024) scenario.
Under the Build conditions (that is, with the Development Plan projects), the same intersections that are projected to operate at LOS E or F during the No-Build (2024) scenario are expected to continue to operate at LOS E or F during the Build (2024) conditions.

The intersection of South Columbia Street at Cameron Avenue currently operates at acceptable level of service during both peak hours and is projected to operate at acceptable level of service during the No-Build (2024) scenario; however, this intersection but is expected to operate at LOS E during the AM peak hour and at LOS F during the PM peak hour in the Build (2024) scenario. The degradation to unacceptable levels of service is a result of the combination of the background traffic growth between 2017 and 2024 and the trips that are added due to the parking facilities that are included in the development plan but are not yet built.

The intersection of Columbia Street at Purefoy Road currently operates at acceptable level of service during both peak hours and is projected to operate at acceptable level of service during the No-Build (2024) scenario; however, this intersection is expected to operate at LOS E during the PM peak hour in the Build (2024) scenario. The degradation to unacceptable level of service is a result of the combination of the background traffic growth between 2017 and 2024 and the trips that are added due to the parking facilities that are included in the development plan but are not yet built.

The intersection of NC 54 at Barbee Chapel Road (East) currently operates at acceptable level of service during both peak hours and is projected to operate at acceptable level of service during the No-Build (2024) scenario; however, this intersection is expected to operate at LOS E during the AM peak hour in the Build (2024) scenario. The degradation to unacceptable level of service is a result of the combination of the background traffic growth between 2017 and 2024 and the trips that are added due to the parking facilities that are included in the development plan but are not yet built.

Legend: X = overall intersection level of service (X) = worst movement level of service
ID # Intersection Control Existing (2017) No-Build (2024) Build (2024)
AM PM AM PM AM PM
1 Columbia Street/Rosemary Street Signalized C (WB-D) E (NB-F) C (WB-D) C (WB-E) C (WB-D) C (WB-E)
2 Columbia Street/Franklin Street Signalized C (SB-D) E (EB-E) C (SB-D) D (NB-E) C (EB-D) D (NB-E)
3 Franklin Street/Raleigh Street Signalized B (NB-D) B (NB-C) C (NB-F) C (NB-D) C (NB-F) C (NB-C)
4 Merritt Mill Road/Cameron Avenue Signalized B (WB-D) C (WB-C) B (WB-D) B (NB-C) B (WB-D) B (NB-C)
5 Cameron Avenue/Pittsboro Street Signalized B (EB-C) B (EB-E) B (EB-D) C (EB-E) B (EB-D) C (EB-E)
6 Cameron Avenue/Columbia Street Signalized D (WB-E) E (EB-F) D (WB-E) E (WB-F) E (NB-F) F (WB-F)
7 Cameron Avenue/Raleigh Street Signalized C (NB-E) D (NB-E) C (NB-D) D (NB-E) C (NB-D) D (NB-F)
8 Pittsboro Street/McCauley Street Signalized B (WB-C) B (WB-C) B (WB-E) D (WB-E) B (WB-E) D (WB-E)
9 Columbia Street/South Road Signalized B (EB-C) C (EB-D) C (EB-D) D (EB-E) C (EB-D) D (EB-E)
10 Raleigh Street/South Road Signalized A (SB-C) A (SB-B) A (SB-C) A (SB-D) A (SB-C) A (SB-C)
11 Country Club Road/South Road Signalized C (SB-D) C (EB-D) C (SB-D) C (SB-D) C (SB-D) D (SB-D)
12 Columbia Street/Manning Drive Signalized C (EB-E) C (EB-E) C (EB-D) F (WB-F) C (EB-D) F (WB-F)
13 Manning Drive/West Drive Signalized A (SB-D) A (SB-B) A (SB-D) A (SB-C) A (SB-D) A (SB-C)
14 Manning Drive/East Drive Signalized B (NB-C) C (NB-E) B (NB-D) C (NB-D) B (NB-D) C (NB-D)
15 Ridge Road/Manning Drive Signalized C (NB-D) C (NB-D) C (NB-D) C (NB-D) C (NB-D) C (NB-D)
16 Mason Farm Road/Columbia Street Signalized B (EB-D) C (EB-D) B (EB-D) C (WB-D) C (EB-D) C (WB-D)
17 Mason Farm Road/West Drive Signalized A (SB-C) A (SB-C) A (SB-D) A (SB-C) A (SB-C) A (SB-C)
18 Mason Farm Road/East Drive Signalized B (NB-B) A (EB-A) C (NB-D) A (NB-C) C (NB-E) A (NB-C)
19 Mason Farm Road/Purefoy Road Unsignalized A (EB-A) A (SB-A) A (EB-A) B (SB-B) A (EB-A) B (SB-B)
20 Manning Drive/Skipper Bowles Drive Unsignalized A (NB-B) A (NB-C) A (NB-B) A (NB-C) A (NB-B) A (NB-D)
21 Columbia Street/Purefoy Road Unsignalized A (WB-E) B (WB-F) A (WB-E) C (WB-F) A (WB-F) E (WB-F)
22 Columbia Street/Fordham Boulevard (northern ramp) Signalized C (WB-E) D (WB-E) C (WB-E) E (WB-E) C (WB-E) E (WB-E)
23 Columbia Street/Fordham Boulevard (southern ramp) Signalized C (EB-E) B (EB-E) C (EB-D) B (EB-E) C (EB-D) B (EB-E)
24 Mason Farm Road/Fordham Boulevard Unsignalized A (SB-C) C (SB-F) A (SB-C) C (SB-F) A (SB-C) D (SB-F)
25 Manning Drive/Fordham Boulevard Signalized C (SB-E) E (SB-F) D (SB-E) F (WB-F) D (SB-E) F (WB-F)
26 Mason Farm Road/Oteys Road Unsignalized A (NB-A) A (EB-A) A (NB-A) A (EB-A) A (NB-A) A (EB-A)
27 Franklin Street/Boundary Street Signalized A (SB-C) A (SB-C) A (SB-E) C (SB-F) A (SB-E) C (SB-F)
28 Franklin Street/Park Place Unsignalized A (NB-A) A (NB-B) A (NB-A) A (NB-B) A (NB-B) A (NB-B)
29 Battle Lane/Boundary Street Unsignalized A (WB-A) A (NB-B) A (WB-A) B (NB-B) A (WB-A) B (NB-B)
30 Country Club Road/Battle Lane Unsignalized A (SB-C) A (SB-E) A (SB-D) A (SB-F) A (SB-D) C (SB-F)
307 Country Club Road & Boundary Street Unsignalized A (SB-B) A (SB-B) A (SB-B) A (SB-B) A (SB-B) A (SB-C)
31 Country Club Road/Gimghoul Road Signalized A (WB-C) A (EB-B) A (WB-D) A (EB-D) A (WB-D) A (EB-D)
32 Manning Drive/Hibbard Drive Signalized A (SB-D) B (SB-E) A (SB-D) A (SB-D) A (SB-D) A (SB-D)
33 Manning Drive/Craige Drive Signalized A (SB-D) B (SB-F) A (SB-D) B (SB-E) A (SB-D) B (SB-D)
34 East Drive/Jackson Circle/Dogwood Deck Entrance Unsignalized A (WB-B) A (WB-B) A (WB-B) A (WB-B) A (WB-B) A (WB-C)
35 East Drive/Dogwood Deck Exit Unsignalized A (EB-B) A (EB-B) A (EB-B) A (EB-B) A (EB-B) A (EB-B)
36 Mason Farm Road/Hibbard Drive Unsignalized A (EB-B) A (WB-C) A (EB-B) A (WB-C) A (EB-C) A (WB-C)
37 South Road/Bell Tower Drive Signalized A (NB-C) C (NB-C) A (NB-D) C (NB-D) A (NB-D) C (NB-D)
38 Manning Drive/Old East Drive Signalized B (SB-D) A (SB-C) B (SB-D) A (SB-D) B (SB-D) B (SB-D)
39 Manning Drive/Craige Deck Unsignalized A (NB-C) A (NB-D) A (NB-D) A (NB-E) A (NB-D) B (NB-F)
101 US 15-501/Estes Drive Signalized C (WB-D) C (WB-E) C (WB-D) C (WB-E) C (WB-D) D (WB-E)
102 US 15-501/Willow Drive Signalized B (WB-E) C (EB-E) B (WB-E) C (EB-E) B (WB-E) C (EB-F)
103 US 15-501/Elliottt Road Signalized A (EB-E) C (EB-E) A (EB-D) B (EB-E) A (EB-E) B (EB-E)
104 US 15-501/Ephesus Church Road Signalized C (WB-F) D (EB-F) C (WB-F) D (EB-F) C (WB-F) D (EB-F)
105 US 15-501/Erwin Road Signalized A (WB-A) A (WB-A) A (WB-A) A (WB-A) A (WB-A) A (WB-A)
106 US 15-501/Europa Drive Signalized A (NB-E) A (NB-E) A (NB-F) A (NB-F) A (NB-F) A (NB-F)
107 US 15-501/Superstreet NB U-Turn Signalized C (NB-E) C (NB-E) B (NB-E) B (NB-E) B (NB-E) B (NB-E)
108 US 15-501/Superstreet SB U-Turn Signalized A (SB-E) B (SB-E) A (SB-C) B (SB-E) A (SB-D) C (SB-E)
109 US 15-501/Sage Road Signalized E (NB-F) D (NB-F) E (NB-E) D (NB-F) E (WB-F) D (NB-F)
110 US 15-501/Eastowne Drive/BCBS Signalized C (SB-E) B (SB-E) B (SB-E) B (SB-D) B (SB-E) B (SB-D)
111 US 15-501/Eastowne Drive/Lakeview Drive Signalized C (SB-F) C (SB-F) C (SB-F) D (SB-F) C (SB-F) D (SB-F)
201 NC 54/Hamilton Street Signalized B (NB-E) B (NB-E) B (NB-E) B (SB-E) B (NB-E) B (NB-E)
202 NC 54/Burning Tree Lane Signalized B (SB-E) B (NB-E) A (SB-E) B (NB-D) A (SB-E) B (NB-D)
203 NC 54/Barbee Chapel Road Ext Signalized A (NB-E) B (NB-F) A (NB-E) B (NB-F) A (NB-E) B (NB-F)
204 NC 54/Meadowmont Lane Signalized C (NB-D) C (NB-D) C (NB-D) C (NB-E) C (NB-D) C (NB-E)
205 NC 54/Barbee Chapel Road (East) Signalized D (NB-F) C (SB-F) D (NB-F) C (SB-F) E (NB-F) C (SB-F)
301 US 15-501/Culbreth Road/Mt Carmel Church Road Signalized C (EB-E) C (EB-D) D (EB-E) C (EB-E) D (EB-E) D (NB-E)
302 US 15-501/Bennett Road/Arlen Park Drive Signalized B (EB-E) B (EB-E) B (EB-E) B (EB-E) B (EB-E) B (EB-E)
303 US 15-501/Market Street Signalized B (EB-C) B (EB-C) B (EB-D) C (EB-E) B (EB-D) C (EB-E)
305 Park Place & Boundary Street Unsignalized A (WB-A) A (WB-B) A (WB-A) A (WB-B) A (WB-B) A (WB-B)

Source: Table 4-11 of Development Plan TIA, December 2017