Waukesha County


Pollution produced by fossil-fuel burning vehicles is responsible for public health problems that decrease quality of life and impose significant financial costs on individuals and the community as a whole. The County’s transportation and mobility policies should address how to move residents, employees, visitors, as well as materials and goods to, from, and within the community in a more sustainable manner. Such policies call for including transportation practices that reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gasses; practices that reduce the use and waste of fossil fuels by providing alternative modes of transportation; and practices that minimize the environmental impacts, health hazards and costs of transportation.

The objectives in this section are organized by topics:

  • Roundabouts
  • Traffic Signal Systems
  • Storm Water Management
  • Materials Recycling
  • Walk-able and Bike-able Communities
  • Salt Usage
  • Central Fleet Maintenance


Traffic in Waukesha County continues to increase at about 3% per year, countywide. This leads to greater inefficiencies on the roadway system especially at the intersections. These inefficiencies increase the amount of time, called “delay”, that a vehicle waits at an intersection and increases the number of accidents that occur. Increased delay at intersections causes increased vehicle emissions and fuel consumption. In addition, an increased accident rate results in direct public costs from higher insurance rates and decreased productivity due to recovering from injuries and making vehicle repairs.

Objective: Evaluate the Appropriateness of and Install Roundabouts at Selected Intersections

Performance Measure

  • Cost to maintain selected intersection is 90% less than control sections. Signalized Intersection maintenance cost (2007) is $3,500 per year, which includes electricity, and signal maintenance costs.
  • The average delay at an intersection is 20% less than the baseline the intersection prior to construction of a roundabout.
  • The number of accidents occurring at the roundabout is 20% less than the baseline at the intersection prior to construction of a roundabout.

Traffic Signal Systems

As traffic in Waukesha County continues to increase, this leads to greater inefficiencies on the roadway system especially at the intersections along high-traffic corridors. Most of these corridors have existing traffic signals that work independently from each other. As a result, traffic along the high-traffic corridor has to stop and start at each intersection. These interruptions in flow and the increased delay at intersections cause increased vehicle emissions and fuel consumption.

Objective: Evaluate and Install Traffic Signal Timing Systems
Evaluate and install coordinated traffic signal timing systems at appropriate County intersections through high traffic corridors.

Performance Measure
Reduce the vehicle delay along the mainline of the high traffic corridor by 20%. Existing baseline delay will be measured along the mainline of the high traffic corridor during initial traffic counts.

Storm Water Management

The widening and urbanizing of roadways often doubles the amount of impervious surface for a given section of roadway. In heavy rainfalls not only are storm water discharge rates increased but total suspended solids and other pollutants are washed off the roadway surface and transported to rivers and wetlands. As a result, the risk for increased flooding and environmental degradation of streams and wetlands is increased. The Department of Public Works has been using erosion control techniques and storm water facilities for many years to limit environmental damage from highway construction projects. For more information, visit Storm Water Managment.

Objective: Provide Storm Water Best Management Practices on Highway Construction Projects

Performance Measure

  • Remove 80% of all Total Suspended Solids (TSS) in Best Management Practices.
  • Peak discharge rates reduced to pre-construction condition or lower or, where applicable, meet Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District volumetric design criteria.
  • Remove at least 80% of Total Suspended Solids during construction, compared with uncontrolled condition.

Materials Recycling

Much of the asphaltic and concrete material under existing roads may be recycled when the roadway is rebuilt. Recycled asphaltic pavement (RAP) is used as aggregate in new asphalt or as base course. Recycled concrete is used as aggregate in new concrete or as base material.

Objective: Improve Use of Recycled Asphalt and Concrete in Paving and Road Construction

Performance Measure

  • Use up to 25% recycled asphaltic pavement (RAP) material in hot mixed asphalts.
  • 60% of repaving program will use recycling techniques.
  • Allow up to 100% of base course aggregates to be crushed concrete or milled asphalt.

Walk-able and Bike-able Communities

Bike paths and walkways have evolved beyond simple recreational uses. Many municipalities now plan their communities to include mixed-use developments so that residents can walk or bike to work or shops rather than drive. On the countywide level, both the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and Waukesha County have bike path plans. Some of these planned paths have been included in various Parks and Land Use and Department of Public Works capital projects and Public Works has worked with various communities to construct bike paths and sidewalks on County rights-of-way.

Objective: Provide Bike Paths and Walkways

Performance Measure

  • Increase non-recreational bike use by 5% - by 2011.
  • Reduce vehicle trips in summer months by 1% - by 2011.

Salt Usage

In an average year, the Waukesha County Department of Public Works uses approximately 17,000 tons salt to de-ice the County highway system. The runoff resulting from salt use can be harmful to roadside vegetation as well as the rivers and streams that receive it. Salt is also a limited resource. Therefore, reducing salt usage is advantageous from an economic and environmental viewpoint. Waukesha County has already begun using some salt reduction techniques:

  • Pre-wet systems – mixing water with the granular salt as it leaves the truck allows salt to stick to the roadway better and begins the melting process sooner.
  • Spraying brine (a salt/water solution) on roadways in anticipation of a storm, which retards snow sticking to the road.

Objective: Reduce Salt Usage on Highways, Parking Lots and Walks

Performance Measure
Determine the average amount of salt used in a “normal” snow event and reduce that amount by 10 percent on roadways.

Central Fleet Maintenance

In 2001, Central Fleet completed an extensive review of policies, procedures and practices related to the operation of its facility. The review included ventilation, storage, handling of cleaning solvents and miscellaneous shop supplies. Outcomes of the review included changing parts cleaning machines to an aqueous/citrus based system rather than a solvent based one. Use of oil-dry has been discontinued and recycled rags are purchased for spill clean up in the facility. A thorough review and update of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) resulted in the transition to citrus-based cleaning products and reduction in the variety of cleaners utilized in the operation.

Objective: Work to “Green” Central Fleet
Reduce hazardous waste generation and increase the use of “green” products within the vehicle maintenance operation.

Performance Measure
Maintain a “ZERO hazardous waste generated” compliance status within Central Fleet.

Objective: Evaluate Alternative Fuels and Vehicles
Study the potential use of alternative fuel and alternative fuel vehicles within Waukesha County, where appropriate, to meet user’s needs. New technology and renewed interest in reducing the human impact on the environment is guiding the manufacturers of fuel and equipment to explore options leading to lower emission vehicles and non-petroleum based fuels.

Performance Measure

  • Reduce use dependency on oil sources by 25%.
  • Use of alternative fuel will add no more than 5% to the total current operational cost.
Explore the Sustainability Plan

What we’re doing...
Installing motion detection faucets and flush assemblies and low/no flow water closets in our facilities.

What you can do...
Switch to a tank-less water heater. Your water will be heated as you use it. Demand water heaters are 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters.

What we’re doing...
During building demolition, reconstruction and remodeling projects, we are working to recycle as much of the construction and demolition materials as possible.

What you can do...
Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run your TV for 3 hours. Recycling one glass bottle or jar saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours. Recycling saves energy and resources.