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Solutions for Highway Operators Accounting for Cyclists and Pedestrians: a Manitoba Approach


Manitobans are cycling and walking on provincial highways, and this is not always safe. While active transportation (AT) on highways presents multifaceted safety concerns, it is legal to walk or cycle on all provincial highways in Manitoba. Highway rights-of-way may be the only available public corridors that connect people to where they want to go. Highways are not conventionally designed for AT purposes. Nevertheless, highway operators have a role to play in ensuring the safety of all highway users and enhancing the wellbeing of citizens.
It is with this lens that Manitoba Infrastructure developed the AT Policy and Planning Guide to respond to the following questions:

How can a highway operator cost-effectively account for AT safety?
Under what circumstances should a highway operator consider AT?
What are appropriate AT investments for a highway operator?

The outcome of the policy and planning guide development process was to outline the role of Manitoba Infrastructure in addressing AT on provincial highways, and to guide Manitoba Infrastructure’s decision-making process when considering AT users and AT needs, in relation to the provincial highway network.
The following summarizes the policy:

Local governments and/or trail organizations are primarily responsible for the ownership and maintenance of local AT facilities, which includes design, construction, operation, maintenance, funding, liability, and stewardship. MI maintains on-highway AT-related facilities, in order to protect highway safety and operations.
Public transportation, including AT, is an appropriate use of provincial highway rights-of-way, if facilities are appropriately located.
MI will work with local governments and trail developers to ensure that AT facilities are well planned and designed to protect highway safety and operations.
Where there is significant demand for AT on provincial highways, as interregional and/or interprovincial corridors and connections, MI has a responsibility to:
reasonably improve safety and usability
partner with local governments and/or trail organizations to facilitate development of AT facilities

The resulting planning guide presents a three step approach to considering AT, where Manitoba Infrastructure: 1) reviews if there is AT activity at a location, based on an AT trigger map; 2) prioritizes AT activity, given current and latent demands; and 3) determines the appropriate investment. As a further component of the AT Policy and Planning Guide, Manitoba Infrastructure is publishing maps to inform the public about the AT safety implications of various provincial highways.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Cycling Solutions: Improving Cycling Infrastructure
Manning, J.
Vido, E.
MacKinnon, S
Active transportation, Mobility management