Slow is the new fast High­way would back up less if you backed off pedal: Stu­dent

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - YOUR ESSENTIAL DAILY NEWS - Brodie thomas Metro | Cal­gary

A Univer­sity of Cal­gary stu­dent has honed his num­bers on in­stalling vari­able speed lim­its (VSL) on the Deer­foot Trail, and he’s con­vinced slow­ing down at rush hour would save ev­ery­one time on the road.

Karan Arora, a mas­ter’s stu­dent at the Schulich School of Engi­neer­ing, has been run­ning traf­fic mod­els, look­ing at ways to im­prove the flow on Deer­foot Trail, specif­i­cally be­tween 17 Av­enue in the south and Air­port Trail.

Arora said Cal­gary is one of Canada’s fastest grow­ing ci­ties, and more traf­fic on the Deer­foot is to be ex­pected as the city grows. He’s in­ter­ested in find­ing ways to stretch the ca­pac­ity with­out break­ing the bank.

His mod­els are show­ing that hav­ing a vari­able speed rate would make the stretch of high­way a full 29 to 31 per cent safer.

Arora also has another trick up his sleeve to smooth your com­mute along. He’s sug­gest­ing the use of the left lane shoul­ders as a tem­po­rary lane which would be used only for rush-hour traf­fic, or for emer­gency ve­hi­cles.

He said chang­ing those shoul­der lanes to tem­po­rary lanes would be cheaper be­cause high­way traf­fic lanes are 3.5 me­tres, and the shoul­der is al­ready three me­tres wide.

“Chang­ing shoul­der lanes to an ad­di­tional lanes is go­ing to cost less than adding an ex­tra lane be­cause the foun­da­tion is al­ready there, they just need to pave an ad­di­tional half me­tre,” he said.

Us­ing VSL and rush­hour lanes would save driv­ers, on aver­age, 11 min­utes of travel time, ac­cord­ing to Arora’s study.

The ques­tion is: Will Cal­gary be able to use Arora’s ad­vice? Not any­time soon, ac­cord­ing to Coun. Sane Keat­ing, re­cently re-elected to serve as chair for the city’s trans­porta­tion and tran­sit com­mit­tee.

He said the Deer­foot is still un­der the prov­ince’s con­trol, and will be for some time.

“My un­der­stand­ing is that once the ring road is com­plete, the prov­ince will be turn­ing the Deer­foot over to the city,” said Keat­ing.

Once that hap­pens, the city might be able to ex­plore op­tions such as VSL.

EL­IZ­A­BETH CAMERON/fOR METRO CAL­gARy

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