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Traffic Safety Studies for Highway Sections through Small Urban Communities in Saskatchewan

Almost all Saskatchewan highways have long stretches of rural roads through flat agricultural land with little roadside development and very few intersections. Traffic volumes are often relatively low on these rural highway sections and the travel speeds on these highways are normally high. However these rural highways often have short sections passing through small urban communities. These highway sections in small urban communities often have higher traffic volumes than the adjacent rural highway sections. These highway sections in small urban communities may have to accommodate through traffic as well as provide access to local businesses and residences. At some of these locations, due to economic and population growth, transportation needs have evolved beyond what these highway sections and communities were originally designed for. Highways at some of these locations may also function as local community main streets, which mean that these highway sections can be characterized by frequent intersections, property accesses, pedestrians and cyclists, school zones, and roadside parking. As a consequence unique safety concerns are identified. For example vehicles accustomed to the high travelling speed outside the towns tend to drive fast and pose risks to local traffic, pedestrians, and cyclists in towns. Accommodation of the local traffic and vulnerable road users while maintaining appropriate mobility is very important in these situations. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure has conducted safety studies for highway sections near and within towns’ urban limits to proactively identify safety issues for improvement. The first phase study was for highways through small towns with population less than 1,000 and the second phase study was for highways through larger towns with population greater than 1,000. The studies used methodologies such as stakeholders (ministry regional traffic engineers, municipal officials, and RCMP officers) surveys and discussions to identify situations/locations with potential safety risks, site visits and assessment, GIS analysis tool in collision data analysis and assessment of roadway geometrics and signings etc. The studies have identified some common opportunities for safety improvements system wide and have also identified some safety concerns at some specific locations in towns. Countermeasures have been recommended such as establishing graduated speed transitions on highway approaches to towns, improving conspicuity of intersections, and enhancing highway sections in town centres as community streets among others for traffic safety improvements.

Author

Shrestha, S.
Liu, A.

Session title

- General Issues in Road Safety

Organizers

Road Safety Standing Committee

Category

Road Safety

Year

2018

Format

Paper

File