Research | 2013

Planning Urban Roadway Systems: An ITE Proposed Recommended Practice

  • Published by:  Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)

Institute of Transportation Engineers.  Planning Urban Roadway Systems: An ITE Proposed Recommended Practice, Washington, D.C. (2011)

This ITE recommended practice includes numerous references to access management. It proposes a planning process that includes the use of layered networks to address the diverse roles of roadways and context zones to best tailor roadway design to community or roadside context (see also Fernandez and Marcus, 2009). A goal of the ITE recommended practice is to address “real world” issues and complications that may arise in the planning process. Among these is the balancing of mobility and access in a multimodal context. “Well planned roadway systems should offer a variety of modal choices appropriate to the community being serve and typically would include pedestrian, bicycle, transit, automobile, and truck on the same roadway network. Each of these subsystems will have its own network that overlays the others and offers the potential user choices and tradeoffs in terms of user cost, travel time, reliability, availability, safety and accessibility. “

It emphasizes the need for high levels of connectivity in urban roadway systems and notes that funding for “off-system” network connectivity improvements is limited, with most funding  going toward major facilities. Adding to this is a lack of local transportation system planning and developer driven discontinuity in the network.  It sets forth numerous principles including the need to “Plan the roadway system to consider the safety or all users and seek to minimize conflicts.”

Chapter 4 addresses the relationship between roadway functional classification and context and the need to “consider broader roles and functions of roadways” than provided by a functional classification system that characterizes roadways by the functions of vehicular access and mobility.” It calls for the use of context zones to better orient roadway types and design to specific land use patterns, as proposed in the ITE Recommended Practice “Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach” (2010). “A transportation professional can then craft different roadway design standards not only to meet the transportation needs but also to complement the character of that zone.” Some areas use this approach as a basis for local government “form-based” codes that integrate building design and layout with street design.

Chapter 4 includes a discussion of functional classification and access management. It states that:

“ access classification system typically has more levels than the standard functional classifications in recognition of the existing character of the roadway and adjacent development…outside an urban developed area, more restrictive access standards should be applied to arterials to prevent the proliferation of access points and deterioration in function and intended performance. As the arterial enters a developed area it may be expected to serve a more densely developed set of diverse land uses and modes of transportation. While access management to any individual parcel remains a relatively low priority, managed access to the neighborhood at large increases in importance. As the arterial enters an older urban core with higher development densities and greater pedestrian activity, lower access management standards may be required to match historic development patterns. Yet, the classification of the roadway as an arterial is unchanged.”

Other useful information is throughout, including a detailed explanation of layered networks, parking management, and roadway spacing. Access management is also extensively addressed in Chapter 6, particularly in discussions on suburbanization of formerly rural roadway systems, urbanization of formerly suburban roadway systems, transitions from freeways to surface streets and service roads.