Why You Need a Traffic Control Plan

An image of Atlanta traffic.

Effective traffic management is essential for the safety and efficiency of any building. Whether it’s a shopping center, hospital, or office complex, having a detailed traffic control plan (TCP) is important. These plans do more than just direct traffic; they ensure safety, smooth operations, and maintain order where it’s most needed.

Not having a traffic control plan can lead to several challenges. Safety hazards increase with the absence of clear traffic directions and proper pedestrian walkways. Operational disruptions are also common, as poor traffic flow can cause delays, restrict access to essential services, and negatively impact productivity. This can also result in non-compliance with regulations, leading to legal issues and fines.

Recognizing the importance of a TCP is the first step in addressing these concerns. An effective plan requires strategic planning, regulatory compliance, and advanced traffic control devices to enhance efficiency for vehicles moving around a property. It ensures comprehensive traffic management from organizing emergency access to managing peak traffic times.

The Value of Having an Effective Traffic Control Plan

A TCP is a blueprint for managing the movement of vehicle and pedestrian traffic in a way that promotes safety. It outlines how traffic will be managed in a specific area to minimize risks and disruptions. This includes the placement of signs, barriers, traffic signals, and other devices to guide vehicles on the road. The plan also addresses potential traffic issues before they arise, providing clear instructions for how traffic should flow and ensuring that everyone can navigate the area safely.

Key Components of a TCP

A well-designed traffic control plan consists of several key components:

  • Traffic Signals, Pavement Markings, and Signage: Used to direct the flow of traffic and inform drivers and pedestrians of rules and regulations, such as speed limits and right-of-way instructions.
  • Street Closures and Detours: In the event of a street or lane closure for a large event or construction work area, a TCP outlines alternative routes to minimize congestion.
  • Pedestrian Safety Measures: This includes crosswalks, pedestrian barriers, pavement markings, and signage to ensure that those on foot are protected from vehicular traffic.
  • Emergency Access Routes: Ensures that emergency vehicles can access any area of the facility quickly and without interruption.

Benefits of a Comprehensive Traffic Control Plan

The first benefit of a TCP is the increased safety it provides. Clear signage, properly designated pedestrian areas, and detailed traffic flow patterns allow everyone to move around safely.

Reduced Traffic Congestion

Traffic congestion is a significant barrier to the efficient operation of any facility. These plans address this by optimizing traffic flow, even in the face of construction projects, special events, or regular peak hours. By clearly outlining routes, managing lane closures, and setting up detour plans, a TCP ensures that traffic keeps moving smoothly.

Improved Public Perception

A well-managed traffic plan reflects positively on the facility and event organizers. Visitors appreciate a seamless experience, free from the stress of navigating through poorly managed traffic. This positive experience enhances the reputation of the facility, encouraging repeat visitors and promoting a positive image to first-time guests.

Emergency Preparedness

In the event of an emergency, having a clear and effective TCP can make a huge difference. Making sure emergency vehicles have easy access to the site is a critical component. 

An infographic describing the steps to developing a traffic control plan.

Developing Your Traffic Control Plan

Step 1. Assessing Specific Needs

The first step in developing a TCP is a thorough assessment of the facility’s traffic management needs. This involves understanding how much traffic there is at different times of the day, identifying rush hour times when traffic is heaviest, and recognizing any potential areas of concern. Look for areas where traffic congestion regularly occurs, crosswalks intersect with major roads, or where accidents are most commonly reported. 

Consideration should also be given to the types of vehicles using the space (commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, or personal vehicles), as well as any specific events or seasonal changes that impact traffic patterns. 

Step 2. Identifying Challenges and Solutions

The next step is to identify specific challenges and develop solutions to address them. List out those specific traffic flow problems and safety concerns that you identified. For each challenge, propose solutions. This might involve designing traffic flow patterns for large events, establishing designated pedestrian zones, or creating temporary detour plans for use in a construction work zone. Incorporate proven practices and devices into your plan, ensuring that each solution caters to the unique circumstances of the facility and adheres to safety standards. 

Step 3. Incorporating Regulatory Compliance

All TCPs must be implemented in accordance with local and federal traffic regulations. You must follow the standards set by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and any state and local guidelines to avoid fines and legal issues. Next, see if specific parts of your TCP require any permits for street closures or temporary traffic signals and signage. If they do, start that process early to avoid any delays. 

It’s also important to consult with your state’s Public Works Department or local authorities to make sure your plan meets all legal requirements and to gain insights into any additional considerations. 

Step 4. Planning for Emergencies

A crucial step is making sure emergency vehicles have clear and unimpeded access to the facility at all times. Designate clear, efficient routes for emergency responders, ensuring that they can navigate the area quickly, even during peak traffic times or when normal routes are blocked. In the event of an emergency, create procedures for communicating with emergency services and coordinating with on-site workers. It’s important to also consider making a temporary traffic control plan if roads are closed and drivers need to navigate around the incident area. 

Step 5. Work with Traffic Control Experts

Collaborating with experts who have experience in traffic management can provide valuable insights into best practices and creative solutions. These teams can review your plan, offer insights, and suggest improvements based on their experience. They can also assist in the regulatory approval process, ensuring that your TCP meets all necessary standards and requirements. 

Step 6. Implementing and Reviewing the Plan

The last step is implementing the plan and reviewing its effectiveness. Deploy traffic control devices, signage, and any necessary personnel as outlined in your plan. Make sure all elements are clearly visible and that changes are communicated to all users of the space. Regular reviews of the TCP are also essential, especially after events, changes in traffic patterns, or the building of new infrastructure. Be prepared to make adjustments based on changing road conditions and feedback from guests. 

Developing the right traffic control plan for your facility is a multifaceted process that requires careful planning, attention to detail, and collaboration with experts. By following these steps, event spaces and facilities can ultimately enhance the overall experience for those who use the space. 

An image of using traffic control devices.

National Parking: Your Partner in Traffic Control Solutions

At National Parking, we stand out for our traffic control solutions, offering unmatched expertise and various services to combat the challenges of managing traffic flow in and around facilities. As the Southeast’s leading parking management provider, we know how to design an approved traffic control plan. We offer more than just traffic control services; we also specialize in valet parking, shuttle service, curb management, and custom consulting for class-A, retail, hospitals, mixed-use, events, airports, hospitality venues, and more. 

We believe in creating partnerships that drive success. Our approach to traffic control is rooted in a detailed analysis of your facility’s needs, allowing us to develop and execute a traffic control plan that is smooth and stress-free. From managing the flow of vehicles to ensuring that your operations comply with all safety requirements, our team provides you with the best traffic management solutions. Partner with National Parking today and take the first step towards a safer, more efficient parking experience.


  1. Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/
  2. National Parking. https://national-parking.com/
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