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Policies, Guidelines, and Standards for Trails in Alberta Highway Rights-of-way


In 2004, Alberta Transportation issued Guidelines for Trails in Highway Right-of-way. Under this policy, Alberta Transportation permitted over 40 trails in the highway right-of-way; however, due to safety concerns with the mixing of high speed highway traffic and low speed trail users, Alberta Transportation did not promote or encourage the practice of placing trails in the highway right-of-way. In 2011, the Government of Alberta released the ‘Active Alberta’ policy, which focused on the importance of active living and recreation for Albertans. One aspect of active living and recreation is the provision of trail systems for both recreational and utilitarian purposes. As an enhancement to the experience, the majority of trails will be located in independent alignments through natural areas; however, there is interest from trail proponents and instances where placing a trail in the highway rightof-way may be the most appropriate solution to help create a functional and connected system of trails. In support of the ‘Active Alberta’ policy, Alberta Transportation recognized the need to review and update their policy on trails in highway right-of-way to reflect the commitment to active living and recreation, while highlighting safety as the most important factor in determining if a trail may be constructed within the highway right-of-way. Therefore, Alberta Transportation launched a study to develop comprehensive policies, guidelines, and standards for trails in highway rights-of-way. The development of “Policies, Guidelines, and Standards for Trails in Alberta Highway Rights-of-way” will be finalized in 2013. This document will provide direction, tools, and clear guidance to Alberta Transportation, other government agencies, municipalities, trail proponents, and consultants when seeking trail facilities in the highway rights-of-way. This paper summarizes the key policies, procedures, planning considerations, guidelines, and standards developed by Alberta Transportation when considering and developing a trail facility in Alberta highway rights-of-way. 

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Sean Willis
Steve Otto
Richard Chow
Road safety