What’s HappeningNewsCongratulations to the 2023 TAC Technical Achievement Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2023 TAC Technical Achievement Award Winners

May 5, 2023

Each year, TAC recognizes member organizations with its Technical Achievement Awards that shine a spotlight on exceptional innovations, project outcomes and lessons learned.

TAC member interest in the Technical Achievement Awards is booming, with the total number of applications this year increasing more than 80% to a new record of 82. Our volunteer review panels reviewed these applications, chose 34 finalists, and selected winners for the following awards:

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

Congratulations to all nine 2023 TAC Technical Achievement Award winners!

The Active Transportation Achievement Award goes to the City of Ottawa, Ontario in partnership with Robinson Consultants Inc. for its Montreal Road Revitalization.

This reconstruction of a two-kilometre main street in a historic neighbourhood significantly improved the safety, functionality, and attractiveness of active travel. A four-lane arterial road with substandard pedestrian facilities and no designated cycling facilities was converted to a three-lane cross-section with protected intersections, raised cycling tracks in both directions, improved sidewalks, and peak-period transit priority. Three public plazas were built at side streets with pre-existing midblock closures, and streetscaping included new street furniture, bollards, bike racks, waste receptacles, pedestrian level lighting, tree plantings and transit shelters. The project’s design integrated numerous elements that recognize the area’s Franco-Ontarian and Indigenous communities.

The Climate Action Achievement Award goes to British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in partnership with McElhanney Ltd. for its Culvert Vulnerability Asset Management System.

Culverts of all sizes are vital to protecting road infrastructure in the face of severe rainfall. Following the unprecedented flooding of 2021, British Columbia’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure developed a new Culvert Vulnerability Asset Management System to identify the most at‑risk culverts across the province. This web-based application uses information on infrastructure, physiography, climate change, hydrometrics, transportation patterns and environmental values to determine each culvert’s vulnerability rating based on projected flows, hydraulic capacity and consequence factors. The system allows the use of different climate change scenarios to project flows, as well as flexible socio-economic, environmental and public health and safety criteria to describe the consequences of culvert failure.

The Educational Achievement Award goes to the City of Edmonton, Alberta in partnership with Empower Me and the Electric Vehicle Association of Alberta for its Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Expo.

Edmonton’s Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Expo was a free two-day public event in September 2022 that gave area residents an opportunity to learn about and experience zero-emission vehicles. This innovative event offered an accessible, inclusive, and immersive educational experience in a comfortable environment. It featured interactive exhibitor booths, electric and hydrogen buses, an education stage, electric vehicle test drives, a micromobility test track, and a family zone activity area. Attendees were exposed to new and emerging technologies, heard from industry experts, learned about emerging career paths, and spoke with electric vehicle owners about their experiences. The Expo featured 40 exhibitors, 20 speakers, 14 ‘EV 101’ workshops, and attracted 5,913 participants.

The Environmental Achievement Award goes to the Alberta Ministry of Transportation and Economic Corridors for its Alberta Wildlife Watch project.

Animal vehicle collisions (AVCs) on Alberta’s rural highways account for 60% of all collisions, with $300,000 in daily costs. Manual data collection on AVCs is slow and unreliable, making it hard to understand and prevent AVCs. The Alberta Wildlife Watch (AWW) includes a mobile app for fast and accurate collection of data on animal carcasses and live sightings, a website tool to identify and prioritize collision-prone locations, standard processes and designs for mitigations, and the ability to monitor and maintain those mitigations. AWW has now been used to identify 79 statistically significant AVC-prone locations of highest concern and enabled the delivery of capital works to improve safety for motorists and reduce the impact of highways on wildlife.

The Infrastructure Achievement Award goes to the City of Kingston, Ontario in partnership with Hatch, SYSTRA-IBT, and Peter Kiewit and Sons for the Kingston Third Crossing (Waaban Crossing).

The Waaban Crossing is a new $180-million, 1.2-kilometre bridge across the Cataraqui River that connects previously divided communities, improves transit and active transportation, provides a new emergency detour route, and reduces motorist travel times by up to 40%. Optimization work in the design phase led to notable improvements including a six-metre reduction in pier height, halving of the in-water footprint, and $12 million in material savings. The project represents the first use of an integrated project delivery model for a bridge crossing in North America, which enabled the client to partner with its engineers and contractors to share risks and rewards and deliver the best possible crossing within the budget.

The Mobility Achievement Award goes to the City of Calgary, Alberta in partnership with ground cubed and Urban Systems Ltd. for the Crescent Road N.W. Master Plan.

This plan for long-term improvements to Crescent Road N.W., an iconic street on a bluff over the Bow River, successfully balances goals for living, recreation, celebration, mobility, safety and strengthening natural connections. It evolved from a typical transportation study into a multi-disciplinary public space project by engineers, planners, landscape architects, and communication and cultural specialists. The plan enhances walking and cycling facilities, includes a raised block linking a local park to the bluff, adds numerous traffic calming elements, and incorporates initiatives that respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action by commemorating the area’s history – a new approach for Calgary that involved engagement with Indigenous Elders from four Nations.

The Road Safety Achievement Award goes to the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in partnership with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia for its High Friction Surface Treatment at Signalized Intersections project.

High friction surface treatment (HFST) involves the spot application of a thin layer of durable, high-friction aggregates on a polymer resin binder. It reduces crashes by enhancing skid resistance at high-conflict locations where vehicles brake excessively, and at locations with horizontal curves or vertical grades. In 2018 and 2019, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure implemented automated, computer-controlled machine HFST applications (believed to be the first in Canada) at ten intersections. Rigorous before-and-after statistical analysis of the treatment sites found reductions of 64% in collisions in wet conditions, 57% in rear-end collisions, and 51% in serious collisions overall – with an estimated 25 serious collisions prevented to date.

The Small Municipalities Achievement Award goes to the City of Selkirk, Manitoba for its Eveline Street Reconstruction.

The full reconstruction of seven blocks of Eveline Street, completed in 2022, supports Selkirk’s strategies for downtown renewal, climate change adaption, active transportation, and street trees. The historic route now features an accessible and pedestrian-friendly design, silva cells and stormwater capture to support new trees, a two-way multi-use pathway, the city’s first roundabout, rationalized access points, improved lighting, and other amenities. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, extensive public engagement helped overcome community concerns and led to design improvements.

The Technology Achievement Award goes to the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in partnership with PBX Engineering for its Automated Avalanche Detection System on Highway 37A.

Highway 37A features 72 active avalanche paths in the Bear Pass zone. The Automated Avalanche Detection System (AADS) – a first in North America – improves forecasting, accelerates responses, reduces closures, and improves safety by delivering real-time avalanche monitoring and alert notifications 24/7 in all weather conditions. AADS includes two radar stations and a radio link station, scans 10 avalanche paths up to five kilometres away, and detects snow mass movements in real-time and any visibility. Automated alerts describe an event’s location, size, and speed (including photos during the day) and allow immediate response. In its first six months of operation, AADS counted more than 1,200 avalanche events – many of which previously would have been recorded inaccurately, or not at all.

To learn more, join TAC’s award winners and finalists as they present their projects in a series of live webinars (click a link to register or see more information):