Traffic Study gives true view of travel patterns

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
In a series of commander's calls held last year, one of the most common questions had to do with the time it takes to get through security check points to enter Robins.

Some complained that it took 15 to 20 minutes of waiting to get through the gates. To address those concerns, Security Forces conducted a study of traffic flow at each gate. They also looked at the wait times at the two busiest entrances, Watson Boulevard and Russell Parkway.

What they found was that perception and reality are sharply different. The wait times at those gates, measured over a three-day period in peak morning hours - 5 to 7:30 a.m. -- was only two to four minutes.

"Your perception of time can become exaggerated if you are sitting in a car and not moving," said Maj. Russell Stilling, commander of the 78th Security Forces Squadron. "It seems that time accelerates, so a couple of minutes can seem like 10 minutes." 

The base operates four gates for general use and one for commercial use. Of the four general-use gates, Gate 14, which is the Russell Parkway gate, rated the busiest during peak morning hours from 4:30 to 9:30 a.m. However, only Gate 3, the Watson Boulevard gate, is open at 4:30 a.m. The others open at 5 a.m.

But that's going to change. As a result of the study, the Russell Parkway gate will now open at 4:30 a.m., although it will close an hour early, shutting down at midnight rather than 1 a.m.

Gate 1 at Green Street primarily is used by flightline personnel and it had the lowest usage, with 2,716 vehicles entering the base over a three-day period during the peak hours. But for those who don't work on the flightline, the Martin Luther King gate, Gate 5, is the least-used gate. It registered 3,715 vehicles entering during the study period.

Major Stilling encourages drivers to use the Martin Luther King Boulevard gate if they want to get in with very little waiting.

The study also showed that customer interaction took about 4 to 6 seconds per vehicle with proper credentials and 25 to 45 seconds in special circumstances, such as having an expired ID.