Deerfoot Trail could see changes to improve traffic flow
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Deerfoot Trail could see changes to improve traffic flow

Last Updated Feb 26, 2019 at 5:50 am MDT

file photo (Dave Will, 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — You may soon see variable speed limits on Deerfoot Trail.

It’s just one idea being considered to try and improve the flow on Calgary’s busiest roadway.

Variable speed limits are restrictions based on traffic volume or weather conditions, and according to a report in Postmedia, Alberta Transportation is looking at several different tweaks, including whether to add carpool lanes and ramp metering.

A 2017 study from the University of Calgary concluded variable speed limits on major roadways can shave several minutes off the average commute. The Washington State Department of Transportation has implemented variable speeds and according to Morgan Balogh a traffic engineer with WSDT, it’s reducing collisions.

“Commuters who are used to the corridor and going to work every day; we saw a reduction of collisions of about 4 and 7 per cent,” Balogh said.

“On weekends it was a lot more interesting because then you get people who aren’t familiar with it, we saw a reduction of collisions of between 13 and 20 per cent.”

In determining variable speed limits, sensors are built into the roadway to measure the speed in a stretch of roadway. Calculations are then made to the speed data that is collected to determine what speed limit would be used on the road. The variable speed is intended to inform motorists when there is an impending slowdown in order to reduce collisions.

“What we do with that is, we post that prior to the traffic slowdown, by telling people, using the signs, that there is slow traffic ahead, and posting a speed limit,” he said. “That way we can reduce the shock that people have when they drive up behind slow or stopped traffic, and we can reduce collisions by doing that.”

Alberta Transportation is expected to complete its review of Deerfoot Trail later this year.

With files from Jonathan Muma at City News.