Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersCONTEXT-SENSITIVE DESIGN FOR RURAL SPEED MANAGEMENT



Up until the mid 1980’s, transportation engineering issues tended to become more and more standardized. As such, the approach used for road design was prone to neglect the physical, economic and social environment in which the road was situated. In the past few years, a major change has taken place, with an emphasis on the importance of engineering judgement and an increase in the flexibility of design issues. Road design has become increasingly influenced by the relationship with roadside land uses and thus increasingly complex. The designer now has to respond to concerns about the safety of vulnerable road users, the aesthetics of the streetscape, the impacts on business activity, the identity of towns…. Impetus for change has come from successful examples of pilot projects in France through the “Ville plus sûre, quartiers sans accidents” program in the mid-80’s, in Denmark with the “Environmentaly-adapted through roads” program, in the United Kingdom with the “Village Speed Control Working Group” project, in Australia with the “Environmental Adaptation of the Main Street in Rural Towns”. In the United States, passage of ISTEA in 1991has led to greater interest in flexibility of design. An approach, initially labelled “Thinking Beyond the Pavement” in 1997, has evolved into Context-Sensitive Design or Context-Sensitive Solutions. The new TAC Geometric Design Guide has also adopted a flexible approach to design. The Québec Department of Transportation is starting to implement projects which incorporate such a perspective, called “traversées d’agglomérations”. Our firm is currently working on its fifth such project. The presentation would discuss the Quebec approach, the latest developments occurring in the United States and present a case study in the hamlet of Massawippi. The underlying problems there include poor perception of the hamlet by drivers because of heavy vegetation (human factors), traffic speeds seen as excessive by pedestrians and the location of an intersection in a hollow. The proposed solutions respond to citizen and municipal concerns about protecting the natural environment and local identity as well as providing protected space for pedestrians. The Québec DOT has agreed to experiment an innovative road shoulder treatment, one part of the project. It should be underway next summer and a progress report will be provided.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Geometric design