The economic impact of invasive species to Canada is enormous: the annual cost of invasive species impacts to agriculture, forestry and other industries from just 16 species is $13-34 billion annually (Env. Canada, 2004). To reduce impacts to BC’s economy, agriculture sector, human health, and cultural resources, as well as our own infrastructure, the BC Ministry of Transportation (MOTI) takes an active role in managing invasive species, particularly invasive plants, in our jurisdiction. MOTI is a major land manager in BC and leader in invasive plant management across Canada. We actively manage many species across our 50,000 km of rights-of-way and 2,000 gravel pits, totalling approximately 10,000 treatments over 600 ha annually. While the number of infestations managed has remained about the same over the last 5 years, through dedicated work the average size of infestations has decreased by over 40% from approximately 0.19 to 0.11 ha. Each year, approximately 30% of the highest priority infestations have had no observable regrowth.
Beaver dam failures and washouts in 2011, 2014 and 2019 resulted in sediment transport into the Southwest Arm of Lake Nipissing. Fish habitat within the beaver pond, upstream of the dam, and along the downstream flow path was determined to be sensitive and a priority to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, as migratory, top predator, and bait/forage fish species were confirmed to be present throughout. Projects of this nature and the magnitude of destruction resulting from a failure of beaver dam located at a higher elevation, make the existing project unique. Torrential flows due to beaver dam failures resulted in washouts of Highway 535 and the transport of 803m3 of sediments into Lake Nipissing. These events caused damage to the highway, private properties, and fisheries. Retained by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO), LEA completed a hydraulic analysis and Water’s Edge, LEA’s subconsultant, provided a sediment transport model, to support LEA’s development and evaluation of design alternatives that address water management challenges, protect fisheries, and stop sediment from entering the lake.
Wildlife and domestic animals were involved in 60 percent of all vehicle collisions on rural Alberta highways in 2020; six percent of which resulted in human casualties (GOA 2023)2. Animal-vehicle collisions are a serious safety concern across Canada that results in human fatalities/injuries, property damage, and wildlife loss. Animal-vehicle collisions are also a serious economic burden; costing Alberta an estimated $300,000 a day (over $100 million a year) in direct and indirect costs. Before AWW, TEC relied on the manual data entry of police collision reports. Most collisions with animals are reported at the police stations days or weeks after the incident. Consequently, the reported collision locations are inaccurate, errors and data gaps are introduced, and access to the data is delayed (up to 3 years). This has hindered TEC’s ability to determine the true magnitude of the issue, accurately locate collision prone locations, effectively mitigate, and monitor over time. AVC mitigation projects were once initiated by a local champion; however, there was often little supporting data. In 2005, TEC undertook a study to determine the effectiveness of the mitigations they built. The study’s results were inconclusive due to poor quality data (before and after mitigation), making it impossible to monitor and learn from the success/failure of the existing mitigations.
The program has evolved over the years to continuously meet industry standards and operational needs while providing our engineers the best possible work environment, the right tools to do their jobs effectively and the opportunity to excel professionally. In 2021, the Ontario Traffic Council (OTC) and the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) released their much-anticipated update to Ontario Traffic Manual Book 18: Cycling Facilities (commonly known as “Book 18”). While the first version of this guide, published in 2013, played a key role in shaping the growth of cycling infrastructure across Ontario, it was quickly overtaken by the rapid pace of change in how cycling facilities are designed and who they are designed for. The new 387-page guide has a lot of new and updated content, making it imperative that the new guidance be shared widely and quickly. To support this, WSP was contracted by the OTC to run a series of training sessions in both online and in-person formats. The flexibility that on-line format offered allowed more sessions to be run and for each session to have more attendees. Since November 2021, WSP staff have trained over 588 professionals across 14 virtual sessions, including attendees from Chatham-Kent, Sudbury, Ottawa, Burlington, and everywhere in-between. Attendees were comprised of municipal staff and consultants alike, covering a range of disciplines with very mixed levels of experience in the design of cycling facilities.
One of the unique factors of the program is that the ministry has achieved and maintains accredited employer status with the provincial engineering regulator, Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia and ensures that participants are able to satisfy the association’s experience requirements when applying for their professional engineer (P.Eng.) or professional geoscientist (P.Geo) designation. Program participants are eligible for expedited application review due to the accreditation. The program also provides an opportunity for participants to build on a strong educational foundation with first hand work experience throughout the province. Participants are hired into permanent full-time professional designated engineer positions and underimplemented while they gain the knowledge, experience, skills and abilities required of the position though a comprehensive training plan. The majority of participants received paid relocation, allowing them to accept rotations throughout the province. MoTI strongly emphasizes the importance of the geographic rotations to give participants perspective on the unique engineering challenges of each location. The training plans don’t end once an employee receives their professional designation, support, guidance and mentorship within the program continues for at least one year following this achievement. During this time, the focus is on how to best support the growth and development of the participant into the full working level of the position (Licensed Science Officer 3 – Designated Professional Engineer).
Edmonton’s Electric & Hydrogen Vehicle Expo (Expo), the first educational event of its kind in the city, was a free two-day public event aimed at providing Edmontonians with the opportunity to learn about and experience zero-emission vehicles. This event was held from September 24-25, 2022 and was made possible by support from Natural Resource Canada’s Zero Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative. The Expo’s innovative approach to program delivery provided an accessible, inclusive, and immersive educational experience in a comfortable environment. The Expo featured interactive exhibitor booths, electric and hydrogen buses, an education stage, electric vehicle test drives, a micro-mobility test track, and a family zone activity area. Attendees were exposed to new and emerging technologies, heard from industry experts, learned about emerging career paths, and had opportunities to ask questions directly to electric vehicle (EV) owners. The City collaborated with many organizations to make this Expo possible, ensuring it met their educational needs and that that the lessons learned could be applied elsewhere. In particular, the City partnered with Kambo Energy Group’s Empower Me program to hold multilingual and multicultural EV workshops before and after the Expo and provide translation services at the Expo. Another critical partner was the Electric Vehicle Association of Alberta (EVAA), whose volunteers hosted education sessions, talked with visitors and brought their vehicles for display. In addition, the Expo’s alignment with EPCOR’s educational outreach efforts was an ideal opportunity for educating citizens on using EPCOR’s network of recently launched EV charging stations and improving the understanding of EVs and their impact on the grid.
Transportation funding is becoming an important topic of discussion at all levels of Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) councils and committees, reflecting discussions that are taking place throughout the Canadian transportation community. The fundamental needs are to maintain and upgrade the country’s aging transportation system while adding new infrastructure to meet the demands of a growing population and economy. These needs are evolving in the face of new challenges, notably changing funding sources and priorities, climate change impacts on infrastructure resiliency, changes to how the system is used, and accommodating new transportation and communications technologies. These challenges have become sharper with the COVID-19 pandemic-induced disruptions in how people and goods move and in shifts in revenues and funding priorities. These needs and challenges cover a broad range. They vary across the country, by mode, ownership, responsibility and more. All told, these complexities mean that the needs and challenges are not fully understood. This briefing describes and categorizes these key challenges and opportunities and provides an initial, high-level assessment of the broader range of potential funding sources, approaches and needs. From this review, the briefing identifies knowledge gaps and potential research directions for consideration by the TAC Transportation Finance Committee and other committees and councils to address these gaps.
Interchanges are often designed with minimal focus on accommodating bicyclists at on and off ramps. As mobility and demand for bicycle continues to increase, and with the adoption of Vision Zero and Safe System Approach across Canada, accommodating cyclists at high-speed free-flowing interchange ramps is critical. This discussion paper highlights international best practices for accommodating cyclists at high-speed free-flowing interchange on and off ramps. The current practice of shortening the cyclist crossing distance and improving sight distance for both motorists and cyclists by providing a jug-handle configuration at off ramps is recommended only under certain conditions. For higher traffic flow conditions, an alternative approach is recommended. The study provides a decision tree to improve the design of bicycle facility at high-speed free-flowing interchange ramps.
Globally the road safety agenda is receiving much more attention than ever before. In October 2021 the World Health Organization and the United Nations launched a Second Decade of Action, with the target to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by at least 50%. The new Decade of Action rejects business as usual and calls for governments and stakeholders to enter a new paradigm – one that prioritizes and implements an integrated Safe System Approach that squarely positions road safety as a key driver of sustainable development, moving towards the ultimate goal of Zero deaths as a result of traffic collisions. Vision Zero and the Safe System Approach have been increasingly adopted and applied in Canada over the past two decades. However, there is wide variability across the country in their implementation and in the successes achieved. The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) Road Safety Committee (SC) initiated a project in the Fall of 2020 to synthesize practices across Canada in support of promoting a greater understanding of Vision Zero and the Safe System Approach, and to assess their level of implementation across various types of organizations. Vision Zero is a philosophy which states that all road fatalities and serious injuries can be eliminated, while increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all road users. The Safe System is an integrated and comprehensive transportation system that makes allowance for errors and eliminates predictable and preventable serious injuries and fatalities. In short, Vision Zero describes an ultimate target goal of zero road fatalities and serious injuries, while the Safe System Approach is currently the most holistic and complete framework for achieving this goal. In respect of emerging societal demand for both Vision Zero and Safe System to achieve improved road safety throughout Canada, and to obtain an understanding of the current state of the practice in Vision Zero/Safe System principles within Canada, a project was initiated by the Road Safety Committee of the Transportation Association of Canada (and carried out by the Vision Zero & Safe System Subcommittee) to synthesize current practice in Canada regarding the adoption of Vision Zero and the Safe System Approach.
Les anciennes routes en dalles de béton sont souvent inconfortables pour les usagers. Les riverains aussi subissent des nuisances dues aux vibrations causées par le passage des véhicules sur les joints et les fissures. Pour améliorer le confort des usagers et réduire les nuisances pour les riverains, on procède généralement à une rénovation avec recouvrement bitumineux. Une des possibilités pour éviter que les fissures ou les joints du revêtement en béton existant ne se propagent rapide ment au nouveau recouvrement bitumineux consiste à appli quer une interface antifissure avant de le recouvrir d’enrobé. Le CRR a réalisé pendant de nombreuses années le suivi de plusieurs sections expérimentales avec différents types de systèmes antifissures et présente maintenant les résultats dans le dossier consacré aux interfaces antifissures.
New forms of mobility are transforming the transportation landscape globally. As the landscape evolves, it will become increasingly viable for travellers to meet most of their mobility needs through purchasing rides or seats, instead of the traditional purchasing of vehicles. The concept of selling mobility rather than vehicles is experiencing renewed interest, in part due to recent developments in digital technology that allow for greater levels of personalization and integration across multiple transport services. Noting this incipient trend in traveller attitudes and behaviour, government agencies have the opportunity to assess options for participation before the transition matures (Smith et al., 2019). The objective of this paper is to help governments define their role(s) as it pertains to Mobility as a Service (MaaS), the term used to describe an integrated platform for payment, multi-modal trip planning, and price bundling.
The County of Essex is pleased to have been accepted as one of five finalists for the 2020 TAC Sustainable Urban Transportation Award for the County Road 20 One-Way Cycle Track project. The following application highlights the partnerships, timeline and components that went into completing this sustainable active transportation facility. Through the efforts of robust collaborations between multi-tiered government organizations, community partners and the public, this initiative provides an innovative sustainable urban transportation solution for a range of active transportation users. In 2019, the County of Essex completed the construction of this six-kilometer One-Way Cycle Track along County Road 20 through the municipalities of Kingsville and Leamington. This raised cycle track is a bicycle facility adjacent to and vertically separated from the roadway. It is designated for exclusive use by cyclists and provides cyclists the ability to travel in each direction to ensure continuity and connectivity. This project highlights sustainable urban transportation through the transformation of a corridor to allow for multi-modal transportation. This facility formed part of the regional County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS). The County of Essex has developed a comprehensive Active Transportation Master Plan to guide the County and local area municipalities in implementing a regional network of cycling and pedestrian facilities spanning some 800 km, over the next 20+ years. The County of Essex has partnered with seven local municipalities, Essex Region Conservation Authority, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, Ministry of Transportation of Ontario and neighbouring municipalities of Chatham-Kent and City of Windsor to create and build a cycling and pedestrian network that improves lives and unites communities. This One-Way Cycle Track project was supported by all of the partners through this system. CWATS was introduced in 2012 to promote healthy, active and sustainable lifestyles and recognizes the importance that connected trails can play in supporting both tourism and residential development. CWATS developed a Master Plan includes planning, design and operation guidelines to support an active transportation network along with supporting policies, programs and outreach initiatives. Infrastructure as part of the regional CWATS network is identified and implemented through formal consultation with the CWATS steering committee comprised of its partners. All infrastructure built through the CWATS initiative follows a phased detailed process.
In line with the City of Ottawa Complete Streets policy, many streets have recently been upgraded. But demand for safe, traffic calmed road designs that serve all users is high and resources are limited. As such, the City has established a set of Traffic Calming Design Guidelines to help streamline the consideration of these improvements as part of all street retrofits, renewal projects, and new construction – not just targeted traffic calming initiatives. The design guidelines delve into specifics on common conundrums cities face when considering the integration of speed management design from the outset or retroactive traffic calming. How much can you narrow the road? What streets can you consider for speed humps? How do you balance emergency services and road maintenance needs? These are just some of the questions the guidelines help answer, making it easier to have traffic calming be a regular part of all street design discussions with or without the help of traffic calming specialists.
Nanaimo has been developing its Complete Street Design Guideline while in parallel putting it into practice on the Metral Drive corridor, showcasing sustainable urban transportation design in the City. The guidelines set a high bar for all future street design, reallocating the right-of-way in an equitable manner and managing conflicts safely. The immediate implementation of the guidelines on Metral Drive will demonstrate how such designs can contribute to community wellbeing by providing a safe environment that enables people to choose active and healthier travel options while also enhancing the streetscape. Metral Drive currently has varying levels of pedestrian provision from sidewalks to gravel shoulders, and cycling provision from none to narrow painted shoulders. Provision is inconsistent and not conducive to attracting people out of their cars. Using the guidelines to develop the Metral Drive detailed design, the City will provide people, regardless of their age, income or physical ability, with safe travel options to the Woodgrove Centre, one of Nanaimo’s key mobility and economic hubs. While the guideline recommends best practice levels of space and separation, it also includes retrofit guidance and speaks to how similar outcomes can be achieved for lower costs or in constrained rights-of-way. The guideline and the Metral Drive design include many best practices, but most innovative is the adoption of Dutch design principles prioritizing active modes through design with continuous sidewalks and bike paths across local roads. While this old design technique is often used in Europe, we believe it has not been fully implemented in Canada.
In order to ensure consistent active transportation facility design across the province that is safe, comfortable, and accessible for people of all ages and abilities, the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), in partnership with Urban Systems, took the step of developing the British Columbia Active Transportation Design Guide in conjunction with the Active Transportation Strategy. The Design Guide is a comprehensive set of planning and engineering guidelines offering recommendations for the planning, selection, design, implementation, and maintenance of active transportation infrastructure across the province. The Design Guide was developed based on national and international best practices and is one of the most comprehensive and innovative active transportation planning and design documents that has been developed to date anywhere in North America.
Winter road maintenance operations to fight snow and ice throughout Canadian winters is critical for road user safety and economic viability. Winter maintenance operations in Canada use over 5 million tonnes of road salt annually. The effectiveness of salt is very sensitive to the pavement temperature. As the temperature decreases, salt becomes less effective and, as a result, salt application rates are typically increased at colder temperatures to compensate for the reduced effectiveness and ensure safe driving conditions. Traditional weather forecasts provide atmospheric temperatures well above the earth’s surface and don’t accurately reflect the pavement temperature which is key to the operational effectiveness of salt. Salt applied at the incorrect application rate results in significant waste, reduced road safety and is a negative impact on the environment. Road Weather Information System (RWIS) stations (Figure 1) provide valuable weather and pavement data used to produce pavement forecasts. Pavement forecasts provide the actual pavement temperature and condition enabling maintenance service providers to identify the right product to be applied at the right application rate, the right time and in the right location. This optimizes winter maintenance operations, reduces the quantity of salt applied, enhances public safety and mobility and minimizes the environmental impact. While RWIS stations provide valuable information, they are expensive to build (~$100,000 / station), forecast, operate and maintain (~$10,000/year/station). New smaller stations have recently come on the market to supplement full RWIS stations adding value at a reduced capital price (~$20,000). These mini RWIS stations have similar forecasting and operating costs with slightly less maintenance costs in comparison with the RWIS. Wood has designed a set of algorithms to produce Virtual RWIS observations and an RWIS forecast showing pavement temperatures and conditions. This innovative method utilizes the RWIS network and regional information while eliminating the capital and maintenance costs. This enables RWIS information to be more readily available to all road authorities across Canada at significantly reduced costs. The Virtual RWIS enables road authorities to densify their existing RWIS network and gain critical information in micro-climate areas or in areas with sparse RWIS stations. Virtual RWIS also enables other road authorities, who may not have an RWIS network, to acquire RWIS observations and forecasts to optimize their operations, public safety and environmental stewardship, at a significantly reduced cost. The Virtual RWIS stations significantly enhance winter road maintenance operations for road authorities. This in turn increases road user safety, reduces congestion, reduces crashes, health care costs, associated lost work time and quality of life, reduces salt released into the environment and reduces greenhouse gases.
An innovative intersection design was necessary to address road safety and operational concerns at the St. Peters Road intersection on the Trans-Canada Highway in Charlottetown, PEI. The PEI Department of Transportation, Infrastructure & Energy (PEI-TIE) in association with WSP Canada, analysed numerous intersection improvement and grade separation alternatives, and concluded that a partial Displaced-Left-Turn (DLT) intersection configuration was the best solution. Canada’s Road Safety Strategy 2025 and its Toward Zero vision of making Canada’s roads the safest in the world provides an inventory of proven and promising best practices from around the world to address key road safety risk contributing factors. Although these best practices include intersection treatments such as Jug Handles, Median U-Turns, and a selection of low-cost intersection improvement options, the inventory does not include the DLT configuration. This innovative intersection alternative is promoted by the United States Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and has been used with great success by numerous State Departments of Transportation. Although new to Canada, the DLT is recognized in the 2017 Transportation Association of Canada’s Geometric Design Guide for its operational and safety benefits. As the DLT is new to Canada, a cautious approach to analysis and design was taken. This included the application of several analytical methods and tools to assess traffic operations, and careful consideration of safety throughout the design process through the use of a senior advisory panel consisting of road safety, human factor, and innovative design experts. This project is an excellent example of the application of new and innovative design solutions to address complex design challenges. It also provides a valuable suite of geometric design, signal, signage, and positive guidance best practices specific to the Canadian context for inclusion in future DLT intersection designs in Canada.
In 2016, the City of Ottawa embarked on a planning and design process for the renewal of one of the city’s most prominent and historic downtown streets, twelve city blocks of Elgin Street. The street is a designated Traditional Mainstreet, Arterial Road, Transit Priority Route and Truck Route, while also being a favoured destination for pedestrians and cyclists who frequent the many shops and services. The sewers and watermains were among the oldest in the city, dating back to the late 1800s. The need to replace this aging infrastructure created a unique opportunity to assess the road surface and redesign it to meet the City of Ottawa’s Traditional Mainstreet designation in the Official Plan, Complete Streets policy, Accessibility Design Standards and improve safety, especially for the thousands of pedestrians walking along Elgin Street every day. The City consulted with community groups, business owners, residents, and the Urban Design Review Panel on the vision and redesign options. The City retained a team led by Parsons Inc. to provide planning, engineering, design and construction administration services, and assist with a broad and inclusive stakeholder engagement exercise. The Planning Partnership and J.L. Richards & Associates provided supporting design services, as did various City branches including Ottawa’s Transportation Services and Infrastructure Services. Details about the Elgin Street Renewal project can be found on the City’s website at: ottawa.ca/elginstreet
The Province of British Columbia is committed to eliminating serious injuries and fatalities. One way to reach this goal is through increased use of intelligent transportation technologies. The Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) combined with variable message signs (VMS) are an innovative safety tool that is being rolled out in British Columbia in areas that experience changing road conditions due to weather events. Weather in BC can change rapidly, especially in winter. Adverse weather conditions create an environment in which it is difficult for drivers to navigate safely. RWIS and VMS integrations can be utilized to provide travelers with information on current weather and road conditions via electronic variable message signs and reduce the frequency and severity of winter collisions. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has combined RWISs and VMSs at seven locations on rural highways that experience extreme winter weather conditions and a poor safety performance.
Increasingly, priorities for environmental planning and management of transportation projects focus on protection of biodiversity. In Canada, this focus has been reinforced by the provisions of the federal Species at Risk Act and complementary provincial legislation. Further, management of invasive species to protect biodiversity, resources, and agriculture often necessitates rapid response, particularly for aquatic invasive species. Linear transportation projects typically cross multiple watercourses, which can alter adjacent habitat through loss, disruption and fragmentation, and change surface water quality, storage and transport. Understanding potential effects across multiple drainages is of key interest to regulators and is often very costly to the transportation agency. In recent years, heightened awareness regarding highway infrastructure operating as potential pathways for invasive species has resulted in inter-provincial collaboration to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels. Such invasives can significantly disrupt local native food webs and reduce populations of species that are of cultural, recreational, and commercial importance. Hemmera’s submission discusses how environmental DNA (eDNA) can be used to quickly and cost-effectively detect aquatic and semi-aquatic species, particularly for at-risk and invasive species.