What’s HappeningNewsCongratulations to TAC’s 2024 Technical Achievement Award Winners

Congratulations to TAC’s 2024 Technical Achievement Award Winners

May 10, 2024

Each year, the Transportation Association of Canada honours outstanding achievements by its member organizations with nine awards:

  • Active Transportation Achievement Award
  • Climate Action Achievement Award
  • Environmental Achievement Award
  • Infrastructure Achievement Award
  • Mobility Achievement Award
  • Road Safety Achievement Award
  • Small Municipalities Achievement Award
  • Technology Achievement Award
  • Workforce Development Achievement Award

We congratulate this year’s recipients and thank the dozens of organizations that applied. We also recognize the many volunteers who reviewed award applications.

Each award-winning project will be featured in a webinar in June and July. Employees of TAC member organizations, individual TAC members, and non-members can register to attend for free.

The 2024 Award Recipients are:

The Active Transportation Achievement Award goes to the City of Victoria, British Columbia, for its All Ages and Abilities Active Transportation Network.

In a few short years, Victoria has created a city-wide All Ages and Abilities (AAA) active transportation network. Since 2017, the project’s complete streets approach has improved cycling conditions, boosted multimodal levels of service, renewed infrastructure, and enhanced the public realm. The results are paying dividends, with more people cycling and walking, safer streets, and better quality of life. The AAA network was built on the pre-existing Galloping Goose and E&N rail trails, starting downtown, where the greatest demand and safety concerns existed. Early steps were challenged by constrained rights-of-way, competing design objectives, limited resources, and extensive council and public involvement. Subsequent work has expanded the downtown grid to surrounding neighbourhoods and adjacent municipalities, providing more than 32 km of AAA corridors for residents, neighbours, and visitors.

The Climate Action Achievement Award goes to the City of Edmonton, Alberta, in partnership with Al-Terra Engineering and EPCOR One Water Planning, for its Strathcona and Garneau Neighbourhood Renewal.

Edmonton’s Neighbourhood Renewal program invested in the infrastructure, vibrancy, and resiliency of two mature, centrally located neighbourhoods. The City’s renewal strategy gave priority to climate resilience and sustainability, integrating low-impact development (LID) facilities that use bioretention basins to manage stormwater flows, adding trees and parklets in road rights-of-way to combat the urban heat island effect, and expanding traffic calming and active transportation facilities to reduce emissions. Taking an integrated, systems-based planning and design approach yielded cost efficiencies and reduced throwaway costs; it also facilitated cooperation and cost-sharing discussions among governments, utilities, local businesses, and industry.

The Environmental Achievement Award goes to the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for its McKenzie Interchange Project.

Before it could address a major congestion bottleneck, this grade-separated interchange project needed to manage complex environmental interests related to the adjacent salmon-bearing Colquitz River and Cuthbert Holmes Park, which features estuary, wetland, riparian and terrestrial habitats. A few of the project’s environmental elements included: flocculant tanks to treat site sediment-laden water during construction; an engineered runoff treatment system within the interchange; wetland and pond construction to further polish water; in-river water quality data loggers; a “rough and loose” landscaping treatment to emulate primary forest succession and reduce erosion; four sets of dendritic channels along the river to provide tidal channel and estuary marsh habitat; bat and bird nesting and perching poles and boxes; and robust environmental auditing by the Ministry, project contractor, and a third-party consultant.

The Infrastructure Achievement Award goes to the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, in partnership with Kiewit for its Highway 5 (3 Bridges) Reinstatement.

A dramatic emergency response program allowed Highway 5 to reopen between Hope and Merritt, BC, after torrential rainfall in November 2021. However, to complete permanent repairs, the Ministry chose the innovative Alliance delivery model – in which the project owner, contractor and designer form an integrated project team to optimize delivery and share risks as well as rewards. At the time of the project award, there was no design concept, construction contract, governance plans or stakeholder consultation. To adhere to an ambitious timeline, activities that usually precede design (e.g. defining scope, specifications and business cases) proceeded in parallel with the design, construction planning, and early procurement of materials. The Alliance team prioritized schedule when selecting bridge structural forms, geotechnical solutions, revetment designs, and traffic management strategies – with the result that all work (demolition of six damaged bridges, creation and removal of two temporary bridges, and construction of six permanent bridges) was completed within 18 months – two months faster than initially targeted.

The Mobility Achievement Award goes to Société de transport de Montréal, Quebec, for its Mobility Achievement Award

Over the last 15 years, the STM has developed the world’s largest network of preferential measures for buses – with bus-only lanes, shared lanes (with carpools or cyclists), synchronized traffic signals, and transit signal priority. As of 2023, the network includes 333 km of reserved bus lanes and 713 transit priority intersections. Routes are selected primarily based on bus ridership and delay, and measures are designed to respond to actual conditions and maximize benefits for the greatest number of users. The travel time saved by scheduled bus trips is typically 5% to 20%, yielding annual operational savings of up to $22 million. The centralized transit signal priority system implemented by the STM and its partner, the Ville de Montréal, represents a major innovation in intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and relies on state-of-the-art equipment to enable real-time communication between buses, traffic signals, and the traffic management centres of the STM, Montréal and other area municipalities.

The Road Safety Achievement Award goes to the City of Edmonton, Alberta, for its Speed Limit Reduction Initiative.

In 2021, Edmonton reduced the default speed limit from 50 km/h to 40 km/h on all residential local roads, most residential collector roads, and downtown arterial roads. This step was forecasted to reduce deaths by 20%, personal injury collisions by 10%, and “property damage only” collisions by 7%. Two years later, a before-and-after analysis observed a small but statistically significant 1.6 km/h reduction in the average 85th percentile speed (from 51.8 km/h to 50.2 km/h) – but a 25% reduction in collisions and a 31% reduction in injuries and fatalities. These findings confirmed the initial assumption that small decreases in speed would lead to much larger safety improvements. Additional analysis showed that road design is a critical factor in achieving compliance with speed limits, with older “grid” neighbourhoods with shorter blocks and frequent intersections experienced greater speed reductions than “cul-de-sac” neighbourhoods with long, wide and uninterrupted collector roads.

The Small Municipalities Achievement Award goes to the Town of Lincoln, Ontario, in partnership with Arcadis for its Jordan Village Improvement Project.

This major rebuilding and improvement project created a vibrant downtown anchor for residents, businesses, and tourists by focusing on active transportation, safety, complete streets and local heritage. It included reconstruction of major roadways and underground utilities, conversion of a five-leg stop-controlled intersection to a four-leg signalized intersection, 1.6 km of cycle tracks, 3.3 km of new or upgraded sidewalks, three new pedestrian crossovers, and a greener, more accessible, and decorative public realm. History and placemaking were at the heart of the project and key to building public support – with key examples include the creation of a public plaza from one leg of the former five-leg intersection, and the inclusion of five large stone pillars as wayfinding features.

The Technology Achievement Award goes to the Ministère des Transports et de la Mobilité durable du Québec for its Digital Twin for the Pierre Laporte Bridge.

The Pierre Laporte Bridge across the St. Lawrence River in Quebec City is the longest suspension bridge in Canada. It is more than 50 years old and faces a long list of maintenance requirements. Traditional approaches to conducting the required work would pose many challenges, so the MTMD decided to leverage early North American experiences with building information modelling (BIM) or digital twinning. Innovative technologies used in the project include 3D visualization, 4D simulation of different project stages, LIDAR surveys, 360-degree photography and photogrammetry, AI-assisted imaging analysis, a finite-element structural model paired with the digital twin, and digital tendering. MTMD succeeded in producing a digital twin quickly and at a low cost by targeting priority needs and leveraging in-house expertise. The project represents a valuable precedent for innovation in bridge management and a sustainable and economically viable solution to technological and financial challenges.

The Workforce Development Achievement Award goes to the City of Vaughan, Ontario, for its Transportation Youth Ambassadors Program.

Vaughan’s Transportation Youth Ambassadors Program has led to better staff understanding of youth’s transportation priorities, more interest from young adults in transportation careers, and a greater representation of young adult voices in local decisions around transportation. It originated when the City was looking to engage youth on transportation issues, and local schools were concurrently looking to expose students to different careers through real-life experience. The program includes two main categories of “by youth for youth” activities: youth input through peer-to-peer engagement (e.g. focus groups, educational tools, youth surveys on emerging transportation issues) and youth education through peer-to-peer outreach (e.g. student delivery of active school travel content, peer outreach at City events, education through games).