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Roadways and Traffic

Introduction

Vehicular traffic has exploded in recent years. Americans have gone from owning one or two cars per family and making 6 to 8 trips per day in the 70’s and 80’s to now owning multiple cars and making an average of 10 trips per day in them. The result has been more traffic in all places, including, but not limited to, Mansfield’s Town roads. While Mansfield supports public transportation and has both a fixed route and a dial-a-ride bus service, the miles traveled on local roads via personal modes of transportation are ever increasing.

Mansfield, CT

Mansfield has over 140 miles of State Highways and Town Roads within its limits. Because of the Town’s rural character, these roads are the conduits for many forms of transportation, including pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists, transit vehicles, motorcycles, cars and trucks. Mansfield’s roads are its neighborhood connectors. Vehicles share them. While the Town has a priority program to construct walkways and bikeways in needed locations, most roadways have only a narrow shoulder to accommodate non-vehicular traffic. As such, the Town’s roads must be used with courtesy and care by everyone.

How does the DOT determine the regulatory speed limits?

The State Traffic Commission sets regulatory speed limits on state and local roads based on an engineering investigation by the Division of Traffic Engineering. Principal factors for consideration are:

  1. Road type and surface (curve, hill, etc.)
  2. Location and type of access points (intersections, entrances, etc.)
  3. Existing traffic control devices (signs, signals, etc.)
  4. Accident history
  5. Traffic volume
  6. Sight distances
  7. Test drive results, and
  8. Radar observations.

Contacts

The following contact information is for Town and State assistance with problems, concerns or comments on traffic safety in Mansfield:

Mansfield Numbers
Traffic Authority: 860.429.3332 
Police Services: 860.429.3357 
Public Works: 860.429.3331
Resident Trooper: 860.429.6024
DOT: 860.423.0124

State Numbers
State Construction: 860.823.3204
Maintenance: 860.823.3210


Frequently asked questions about speed limits and stop signs


Won’t lowering the speed limit reduce speeds?
Studies show that there is little change in the speed pattern after the posting of a new speed limit. Drivers are much more influenced by roadway conditions

Will lowering the speed limit reduce accident frequency?
Accidents are most often the result of driver inattention and driver error. Also, if a speed limit is unrealistically low, it creates a speed variance which can contribute to accidents.

Why do we even have speed limits?
A uniform speed of vehicles in a traffic flow results in the safest operation. The posted speed limits can keep the traffic flowing smoothly provided the majority of drivers find the speed limits reasonable. To do this, the limits must be consistent throughout the state. All speed limits on Town roads are set by the State Traffic Commission.

Won’t more stop signs slow traffic?
Studies show that stop signs have very little effect on traffic speeds a few feet either side of the sign. Also, unwarranted stop signs tend to be ignored. The Town Traffic Authority only approves new stop signs that meet the criteria set forth in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

How traffic problems are addressed in Mansfield

A Cooperative Program...

Traffic problems are addressed by the Mansfield Traffic Authority, the State Traffic Commission, and the Department of Transportation through a cooperative effort. Residents’ concerns are generally first considered by the Traffic Authority at their monthly meetings. Problems on Town roads are referred to the Town’s engineering staff and/or the Resident State Trooper for investigation and recommended action. State highway problems are referred to the DOT. Recommended action(s) are usually made within a month or two of the first Traffic Authority meeting.

The Town Traffic Authority...

Traffic controls on Mansfield Town roads are set by the Mansfield Traffic Authority with approval by the Connecticut State Traffic Commission. The Traffic Authority is composed of the Town Manager, Resident State Trooper, Fire Marshal, Director of Public Works, Town Planner, and Assistant Town Engineer.

The Connecticut DOT...

Traffic controls on state highways in Mansfield are set by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The Mansfield Traffic Authority makes recommendations to the DOT for controls on state highways, but the DOT retains the ultimate authority through the State Traffic Commission.

Traffic Calming


Since the Town’s roads are used by many vehicles as well as pedestrians and bicycles, it is important that vehicles travel at reasonable speeds. To this end, through its Resident State Trooper the Town has a continuing radar and laser enforcement effort to tag drivers that drive too fast and endanger others. The Town also has a traffic calming program, initiated in the mid 90’s to place various structures in and along Town roads to help control speeds. So far this has included speed humps, diverters, textured pavements, signs, road markings, and a visual speed display that is placed at various locations to remind drivers of their current speed.