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A Framework for Conducting Sustainable Transportation Assessments for Neighbourhoods


Traffic calming, techniques used to slow or reduce the volume of motor traffic on local streets, has met with challenges in recent years. Two issues have become evident and increasingly recurring: the process is seen as reactive, and often creates divisions among neighbours, with many typical solutions (traffic circles, speed humps, closures, etc.) deeply unpopular; and second, the roots of the neighbourhood concerns quite often reveal underlying structural problems, such as a lack of connectivity and pedestrian facilities, and personal security concerns – solutions for which are typically outside the scope of the traditional toolbox of traffic calming measures. The Alberta-based Centre for Transportation Engineering and Planning in partnership with Strathcona County, Alberta, retained Opus International Consultants (Canada) Limited (Opus) to prepare a framework for conducting Sustainable Transportation Assessments for Neighbourhoods (STAN). Where the traditional traffic calming process often uses physical measures to slow or redirect vehicles on neighbourhood streets, with potential benefits for pedestrians and cyclists, STAN reverse this process: through a more thorough diagnosis of underlying traffic issues in a neighbourhood, the STAN framework forwards solutions which improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, with the resulting mitigations helping to slow and reduce short-cutting traffic where necessary. By providing for sustainable travel modes and encouraging sharing of the roadway, STAN improve the overall health and mobility of the neighbourhood without dramatically (and unrealistically) impeding auto users. At its core, the STAN framework is a straightforward process. The underlying contributing factors of a particular traffic issue are determined by the collection and analysis of traffic and active transportation data, consultation with the public, and a site visit where appropriate. Depending on these factors, the framework presents a range of solutions is provided whereby the impact to traffic by means of physical measures is limited. For instance, where an area is determined to be lacking in appropriate pedestrian facilities (i.e. sidewalks, crossings, etc.), where pedestrian exposure to vehicles is resulting in safetyrelated complaints, the framework forwards the additions of or improvements to these facilities as opposed to traditional physical traffic calming devices, such as speed humps, to slow motorists. In developing the framework, Opus conducted stakeholder interviews with several agencies in Alberta as well as internationally, and reviewed literature on innovative and leading practices for including sustainable and multi-modal enhancements into new developments. The real-world applicability of the framework was tested and refined through a workshop with staff at Strathcona County, Alberta, where it was used to evaluate a recently traffic calmed neighbourhood. The framework was seen to recommend viable solutions (with many implemented by the county), as well as identifying potential policy gaps with which failure to implement may ultimately lead to a repeated study of the area. 

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Gregory Ablett
Jason Bell
Sarah Rocchi
Road safety