This publication offers jurisdictions the opportunity to review current information on special roads, from a broad range of sources, which may assist with engineering judgment when addressing issues related to new or existing special roads.
“Special roads” is a category for roads that tend not to fit into the standard definition for either urban or rural roadways. In design guidelines and research publications, special roads are often referred to as “low-volume roads” (LVR), although volumes are only one criterion for designating a roadway as a special road. Other important criteria related to special roads include function, seasonality, traffic composition and roadway structure. Examples of special roads (besides LVR) include recreational roads (scenic and seasonal, including park, campground, winter lodge, cottage and beach access), resource access roads (including mining, petroleum and logging access), and winter roads (made of ice and snow), amongst others. Each of these sub-classes of special roads is discussed in this document.
This study included the preparation of special roads surveys that were sent to transportation officials and academics throughout Canada and the United States. An extensive review of recent research publications from around the world related to special roads was also included.
An important component of this study was to make a comparison between current, Canadian jurisdictional documents related to special roads and those presented in Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) geometric design guidelines. This process helped identify which geometric features of special roads are already addressed in Canadian design guidelines, which topics have not been addressed and which issues require specific attention, and, perhaps, additional investigation.
Keywords: Planning of Transport Infrastructure; design (overall design); farm road; highway; layout; low cost road; planning; rural road; secondary road; service road; temporary; traffic composition; traffic concentration; winter
See also: PRIMER: Synthesis of Practices of Geometric Design for Special Roads