This article is Part I of eight parts comprising an historical presentation of the principles for highway design for motor vehicles. This section contains an introduction, and a brief history of the origins of traffic measurement. The introduction relates the formation of the various highway research organizations in this country, including the Bureau of Public Roads, and the Highway Research Board. "The Beginnings of Traffic Measurement" starts with the first traffic censuses in Ireland and in France in the 1870's. Maryland was the first American state to conduct a traffic census in 1904. The other states soon followed suit, and the most important observation that emerged from these traffic counts was that traffic fluctuates continually, and can not be measured at a steady rate. The passing of the era of animal-drawn vehicles was noted by these censuses. The California investigation of 1920 was the first instance of research cooperation between a state and the Federal Bureau of Public Roads. This joint effort included studies of pavement performance and highway design, as well as traffic studies. The Connecticut Highway Transportation Survey of 1922-23 focused mainly on the role of trucks in overall traffic. Subsequent to these two major studies, research efforts were to continue all over the country on various aspects of highway engineering. The standard unit of traffic, the average annual daily traffic (ADT), was adopted as a result of continuing traffic studies.

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  • Accession Number: 00080994
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Mar 26 1975 12:00AM