Mackinac Island Traffic Study

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

DLZ prepared microsimulations of traffic for existing and proposed conditions on the boat docks and a half-mile of Main Street. These simulations included ferry boats, freight boats, horse-drawn carriages and drays, bicycles, and pedestrians. Problems collected from the unique data study were essential to simulate the above. That included specifics such as

  • Speed and travel patterns of horse-drawn carriages and drays
  • Research and observations of ferry schedules
  • Passenger capacities
  • loading and unloading operations
  • Observations of a freight boat
  • Loading/unloading operations

We collected the pedestrian, bicycle, and carriage/dray counts at key locations and times to capture peak periods to analyze. Traffic is tourist-dependent, so the timing of counts was paramount. DLZ also collected video data 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. DLZ identified unique Measures of Effectiveness for use in traffic analysis.




Local and State Governments


Mackinac Island, Michigan