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Edmonton Urban Roadside Truck Survey: Planning and Operations


The City of Edmonton’s Transportation Master Plan identifies the City’s commitment to efficient goods movement as part of enabling economic development and supporting the competitiveness of businesses. In April 2012, a number of questions were raised by councilors wanting to better understand truck movement needs within the city, including impacts of infrastructure investments over the past decade and changes in goods movement patterns. After a review of possible methodologies, a roadside truck survey was implemented in order to gather qualitative and quantitative goods movement data within tight time and budget constraints. A survey was designed that included questions about vehicle characteristics, travel patterns, route preferences, commodities carried and driver experience. The survey was conducted with 2,294 participants over 14 days in fall 2012. The surveys were performed on major city arterial roadways, freeways, provincial highways within City limits and the Anthony Henday Drive ring road. The survey data was supplemented by classified volume counts across the city conducted on the day of and the day before the survey. Subsequent data processing and analysis were performed in order to report results that could be compared with past goods movement surveys which used regional roadside cordon and business establishment survey methods. Roadside surveys have not been used often within urban limits in Canada, likely due to challenges in collecting data from drivers due to the nature of large vehicles within a congested roadway network. Also, sampling challenges results from the disruption to the roadway network that is caused by the survey itself. Based on the experience of this survey, recommendations are made for the planning, field operation and data analysis involved in an urban roadside truck survey. Survey site planning and staff training are important for delivering a safe and effective survey. Through careful planning and implementation of best practices, an urban roadside survey can yield cost effective results for jurisdictions contemplating urban goods movement studies.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Andrew Anderson
Howaida Hassan
Transportation planning