Rural Transportation Planning: How to Effectively Plan, Implement, and Communicate an Access Management Study

Over the past decade, states have experienced a shortage of highway funds needed to keep up with transportation growth. When this occurs, both transportation studies and construction projects are drastically cut back. In most cases, urbanized areas tend to consume the largest percent of available funds. Hardest hit for transportation study and construction funds usually are the rural areas. This makes it difficult to establish need and fiscal priorities in rural areas. The answer: Access Management becomes the most valuable transportation and land use management tool for maintaining the integrity of rural highways. Transportation planning experience shows that the neglected rural arterials of today become the over-developed suburban arterials of the future. Anticipation of transportation needs and wants of others, with an in-depth appraisal of their present highway system, helps identify how one can manage long-term growth and ensure safe and efficient transportation solutions. The U.S. Route 13/Wallops Island Access Management Study, completed by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) in May 2002, is a successful example of such a project. The 69-mile corridor on Virginia's isolated rural eastern shore peninsula serves interstate travelers, town residents, farm equipment, tourists, bicyclists, school buses, long haul truckers and commuters. This major access study, for the Commonwealth, looked primarily at ways to make the access to the roadway safer and more efficient. A few of the concerns that had to be addressed included: the road contains more than 1,300 driveways--most without adequate turn lanes, almost 300 median crossovers, intersecting cross roads that do not line up from one side to the other, antiquated drainage culverts that can be dangerous if you happen to leave the highway, variable-width medians and numerous speed change zones. This paper addresses how VDOT effectively planned, implemented, and communicated the outcome of an access management study based on lessons learned on this very successful Virginia experience. Topics covered include: Performing a needs and infrastructure assessment; Using GIS for innovative data collection, design, and analysis; Effectively linking community and interagency involvement; Creating a conceptual solution using state-of-the-art graphic and techniques; Involving and informing public and private interests; Assistance localities with zoning ordinance; Developing guidelines for future access studies; and Turning the plan into a reality.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; Maps; Tables;
  • Pagination: 10p
  • Monograph Title: Sixth National Conference on Access Management, August 29-September 1, 2004, Kansas City, Missouri

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01046462
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Apr 23 2007 9:51AM