Mackinac Island Traffic Study

A traffic study was initiated on the island, which does not allow automobiles, due to a private citizen and business owner who are proposing to remove two of the four-boat docks in the island’s harbor to create room for a public access boardwalk and beach and consolidate all activity on two historic docks. The traffic study will analyze the traffic impacts on the docks and Main Street, which runs along the harbor.

Microsimulations of traffic for existing and proposed conditions on the boat docks and a half-mile of Main Street simulating ferry boats, freight boats, horse-drawn carriages and drays, bicycles, and pedestrians were prepared. Problems collected from the unique data were needed to simulate the above, which included the speed and travel patterns of horse-drawn carriages and drays, research and observations of ferry schedules, passenger capacities, loading and unloading operations, observations of freight boat, and loading/unloading operations.

Collection of pedestrian, bicycle, and carriage/dray counts at key locations and times to capture peak periods to analyze were conducted. Traffic is tourist-dependent, so the timing of counts was paramount. Video data were collected for 12-hours a day for nine days at 12 locations. Highly detailed, technically challenging coding in VISSIM and VisWalk software was used to simulate complex interactions between pedestrians, bicycles, and horses. Unique Measures of Effectiveness for use in traffic analysis was identified.




Local Government/Agencies


Mackinac Island, Michigan