UNM researchers looking to make Balloon Fiesta traffic more tolerable | KOB 4

UNM researchers looking to make Balloon Fiesta traffic more tolerable

Patrick Hayes
April 15, 2019 06:24 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- While hundreds of balloons filled the Albuquerque skies during last year’s International Balloon Fiesta, visitors were greeted by nonstop traffic and parking problems.


KOB 4 reported extensively on issues when it came to the city’s Park and Ride service and the event’s rideshare setup.

“So after the press coverage last fall – some the traffic troubles Balloon Fiesta had, I contacted them and said ‘do you need any help,” UNM researcher Claude Morelli told KOB 4.

Now, Morelli and UNM’s School of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering are analyzing data from last year’s two-week celebration and producing a study in hopes of creating a more efficient way for people to get to and from Balloon Fiesta Park.

“Traffic rises and falls depending on the attendance and so there’s a correlation between how many people want to go to Balloon Fiesta and how many cars you see on the road,” said Morelli.

According to researchers, one of the biggest things that needs to be changed is the Park and Ride service which takes visitors from central locations to Balloon Fiesta Park.

“The buses themselves carry the equivalent of about a lane and a half of interstate freeway capacity so that’s a lot of people moving on buses,” he said.

Morelli suggests giving those buses priority and changing the way tickets get scanned. He also recommends more cooperation with law enforcement.

“There’s probably a need for more cooperation between the city police and Balloon Fiesta to get those buses through,” he said.

UNM said they’ve been working with Balloon Fiesta organizers and will release their findings next month.


Patrick Hayes

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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