Statewide Access Management Standards to Streamline Process

Posted by on Feb 19, 2013

Access management is defined as the planning, design, and implementation of various land use and transportation strategies to maintain traffic flow and safety along a primary roadway – linking appropriate access design to roadway function.

Sain has published previous blogs on the topic of access management.  We have provided access management services for our clients across the state and the southeastern U.S. for many years.  We have conducted multiple presentations at the local and national level for conferences, professional organizations and government officials. It’s something we think is important since it can help reduce traffic crashes and congestion, improve travel times, recapture street capacity, and even preserve property values.

Due to our level of experience with traffic engineering and implementation of access management, Sain Associates and Skipper Consulting were chosen by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) to be on a team to create a statewide Access Management Manual (click here for a link to the published manual on ALDOT’s website).  Having statewide standards for access to state roads will help streamline the entire decision making process along the way.

We’ve enjoyed working on the team that consisted of Sain, Skipper, and the University Transportation Center for Alabama (UTCA).  UTCA’s efforts focused more on principles and theory research, while Sain and Skipper’s research focused on the state of practice in Alabama and practices in other states that are at varying levels of experience with access management enforcement.

The end result includes text, tables, and figures that contain access management principles, traffic impact study requirements, access design requirements, and access management retrofit applications for existing developed areas.  It addresses planning, design, construction, and maintenance activities that are in keeping with good access management practice.

Funding limitations for new transportation projects are forcing Departments of Transportation to focus on squeezing as much functionality as they can from existing roadways.  That focus naturally leads to an emphasis on improving safety and preserving capacity of existing roads.

This message was clearly delivered by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and ALDOT Director John Cooper to over 800 transportation professionals less than one week ago at the State’s Annual Transportation Conference in Montgomery.  Since “system preservation” will most likely be the mode of operation in the foreseeable future, it’s important that the state has consistent access management standards – so the manual comes at a perfect time.

The manual is available now on the ALDOT website, and it’s intended for use by anyone involved in the determination of a project’s access plan.  It can be used by developers and property owners as a planning resource, by planners and engineers to influence a design, and by local and state government to enforce standards and control access.

Soon, Sain will also be involved in the training phase of the project.  The team will hold training sessions at 2-3 locations throughout the state for Alabama DOT personnel.

Sain Associates, Inc., is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with offices in Cullman, Alabama, Pulaski, Tennessee and Mandeville, Louisiana. Sain is a site engineering, traffic/transportation engineering and planning and land surveying firm with experience in more than thirty states.

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