Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersImproving Safety in Canada’s Oil Sands with Temporary Signal Lights

Improving Safety in Canada’s Oil Sands with Temporary Signal Lights


Supporting transportation infrastructure for Canada’s oil sands operations is a challenging task at the best of times, where items such as extraordinarily large equipment, atypical modal splits and non-standard peak period travel patterns ensures that any transportation design requires special consideration. Continued growth and production at a major oil sands site in northern Alberta has resulted in a substantial amount of vehicular traffic travelling on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This growth has resulted in inefficient operations at one of the major intersections on site.
Currently this intersection is stop-controlled during non-peak periods. During peak periods, manual control in the form of flaggers is brought in to direct traffic in order to improve efficiency. Although the flaggers facilitate and improve movements through this intersection, there are evident safety concerns noted having laborers working in such close proximity to the roadway as well as subjecting them to the harsh northern elements. Due to these safety concerns and on-going operational costs, Stantec was acquired to conduct a scoping study of the area of concern.
Results of the scoping study recommend traffic signals for this intersection. Since this would mark the first signalized intersection on site, our client sought further assurance that a signalized intersection would – at a minimum – maintain current levels of service through the intersection before making the long-term investment in a permanent system. In order to test the effectiveness of signals on the intersection, an 8-week trial was conducted with portable traffic lights.
This paper will review and summarize the portable traffic lights trial, how it performed and its effect on safety at the intersection. The usefulness of portable traffic lights as an interim solution prior to the implementation of permanent installations will also be reviewed.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Intersection Safety through Traffic Control Devices
MacDonald, E.
Road safety