This paper presents a comprehensive review of current passing lane design practice in Canada and Australia. It is based on a survey of selected Provincial Highway Departments in Canada and State Road Authorities in Australia. Although the term passing lane includes climbing lanes, this paper focuses on passing lanes built for the purpose of enhancing overtaking opportunities, thus reducing platoon size and time spent following. One principal difference between Australia and Canada is that Australia has developed a nationally accepted set of design guidelines and warrants for passing lanes, while Canadian pracitce is characterised by an individual approach followed by each Provincial Highway Department. While warrants for passing lanes are still under development, a number of common factors such as location and signing requirements have emerged in both countries. For example, the need for advanced notification of a passing lane, the requirement to keept to the outside lane unless overtaking, and advance warning of the merge are all examples of common denominators in Canadian and Australian design practice. One of the more vexing problems for some Canadian highway departments has been whether or not to allow overtaking in the opposing lane, especially for high volume roads. Australian practice generally permits overtaking in the opposing lane wherever sight distance is adequate. Canadian practice has tended to be mooe conservative, with some Highway Departments posting signs that warn motorists to pass only when the centre lane is clear and other installing a double barrier line once traffic exceeds a given volume. While there is general agreement that the provision of short passing lanes at regular intervals is more cost-effective than the provision of a few long ones, the lanes built to date are longer in Canada than in Australia. For example on primary highways with a design speed of 100 km/h Australian guidelines recommend a normal maximum length of 1,200 m including tapers. Current Canadian practice has tended to a length of approximately 2,000 m including tapers. Highway departments in both countries report good operational experience with passing lanes, and suggest that passing lanes are providing an intermediate alternative between two-lane and four-lane rural highways. (Author)

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Papers presented during the Proceedings of the Roads and Transportation Association of Canada, Annual Conference, September 1985, Vancouver British Columbia. Volumes 1 and 2.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Association of Canada (TAC)

    401-1111 Prince of Wales Drive
    Ottawa, Ontario  Canada 
  • Authors:
    • Morral, J F
    • Hoban, C J
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 1985

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 21-49

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00453616
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Volume 2
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 31 1986 12:00AM