Road improvements along the half-mile stretch of Peachtree Road, from Maple Drive to GA 400, are showing a dramatic savings for motorists in travel time, as well as cost savings, according to a recent report from the Arcadis transportation consulting firm.

The improvements to Peachtree Road, which were completed last year, included retiming of the traffic signals between Rumson Drive and Club Drive, but also Phase I of the Peachtree Boulevard streetscape project between Maple and GA 400, which reduced left turn options and made other traffic moving contributions.

The study by Arcadis, which compared factors against a similar study done before the improvements, showed a 17 percent improvement in average travel time through the half-mile area. It also showed a 35 percent improvement in average number of stops and a 26 percent improvement in total delay time in moving through the area.

Major improvements also were documented in the total amount of atmospheric pollutants emitted by vehicles. There was a 45 percent improvement in CO emissions, 38 percent improvement in NOX emissions and 61 percent improvement in VOC emissions.

In these times of high fuel costs and tight money, possibly the most significant findings of the study involved the direct dollar savings to motorists in of fuel consumption and the value of time spent while waiting in traffic.

Motorists using the section of Peachtree between Maple and GA 400 during the three peak times during the day will save 27,968 hours and 49,059 gallons of gasoline each year from the improved traffic flow.

Using a vehicle occupancy rate of 1.2, $10 per hour for the value of motorists’ time and $2.75 per gallon for gasoline, the annual savings to motorists on this section of road will be $335,612 in the form of reduced delay and $134,911 in reduced fuel consumption. The total annual savings would be $470,523, according to the study.

If time and cost savings are not significant enough, the improvements between Maple and GA 400, transforming Peachtree Road into a boulevard-style streetscape, was presented the Grand Award by The Georgia Engineer magazine in its 2007 Engineering Excellence Awards competition.

The streetscape was a project spearheaded by the Buckhead Community Improvement District, which plans two more project phases.

–John Schaffner