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Accommodating Pedestrians and Cyclists at a Suburban Freeway Interchange


Freeways are typically physical barriers to active modes of transportation. For the Nose Hill Drive and Stoney Trail interchange in Calgary Alberta, there is a freeway barrier, a railway barrier, and a wildlife coulee corridor. On all sides of these physical barriers, there exists a demand to connect the surrounding suburban communities to 12 Mile Coulee and the Bow River for recreational use. The objective of the study was to find a way to provide safe, efficient, and convenient access for active modes of transportation across the physical barriers, while minimizing cost, and improving freeway and interchange capacity. The demand for active modes includes commuter bicyclists, pedestrians, pathway users, and recreational park users. The methodology of the study focused on providing active transportation mode connections, while improving safety for all transportation modes. The study found that a fully grade-separated pathway system would provide access across the physical corridors, at a similar cost to the traditional method of piggy-backing all of the modes through the ramp terminal intersections. The additional benefit is that the grade-separation provides free-flow conditions for both the roadway users, and the pathway users. The recommended solution eliminates five pedestrian-vehicle conflict points where high traffic volumes and tight ramp geometry create predictable collision locations. The primary finding is that typical policies for handling active modes across physical freeway barriers may not always be the least expensive or safest solution available. By separating the active transportation modes into their intended purposes or travel usage characteristics, a safer and more economical solution can be found.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Mark Roen
Geometric design