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Rural road capacity?

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
I am seeking a reasonably simple, yet defensible means of determining the capacity, in ADT or some other simple measure, of low volume rural roads. I have spent a fair amount of time in an effort to figure out the Highway Capacity Manual, only to realize that it isn't helpful for this purpose, and that newer versions seem to be less helpful than older.

I have run across a few jurisdictions that set standards, but with no hint at the methodology, other than engineering judgement. I know from experience that the capacity of these roads without improvements is no more than a few hundred ADT, but I need a defensible methodology. Any suggestions will be welcome.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
I can't seem to find my copy, but I believe that the APA issued a technical bulletin on measuring gravel road capacity and establishing rural road LOS. I researched this topic a little about a year and a half ago and found very little information. I have never run across a good study on rural road conditions and maintenance costs relative to the ADT. Especially in regard to gravel roads where soils, drainage, base construction, aggregate materials and other factors play in important role.

Good luck and let me know if you find anything.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,952
Points
40
Budgie said:
I can't seem to find my copy, but I believe that the APA issued a technical bulletin on measuring gravel road capacity and establishing rural road LOS. I researched this topic a little about a year and a half ago and found very little information. I have never run across a good study on rural road conditions and maintenance costs relative to the ADT. Especially in regard to gravel roads where soils, drainage, base construction, aggregate materials and other factors play in important role.

Good luck and let me know if you find anything.

Mark Wycoff, AICP, the principal of the Planning & Zoning Center, Inc. in Michigan gave a presentation in DC on this topic....and I know I have a report hanging around somewhere.....you might try contacting him:

www.pzcenter.com
 

vaughan

Cyburbian
Messages
335
Points
11
Its definitely a long shot, but there's a guy named Dan Marriot who works with the Rural Heritage Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation... his specialty is preserving the character of rural roads and he might have an idea of where to get info or some methodology... his website is:

http://www.historicroads.org/
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
I haven't done this before, so it could be a bad idea.

Set your own standard. Get a bunch of friends together. Send them down a typical road. Find out how many can comfortably go down the road in a 15 minute period. Multipy by 4 for the "peak hour." Multiply by 10 for the peak daily volume. That should be LOS D for the road.

If they are willing to do it, get some Planning Commissioners and Council Members in the middle of the pack. That ought to help them understand the methodology.
 

sisterceleste

Cyburbian
Messages
1,519
Points
22
I would be interested in seeing what you come up with for rural paved roadways. I find around here that for the old rural 2 lane roadways that capacity is not really the problem for these old farming roads. The problem is safety. They usually have substandard width of pavement and right of way and the drainage canals along the side of them are never cleaned out enough and are so deep (even though additional drainage capacity is needed in off site ponds) that they are a safety problem also. So if you come up with a LOS for capacity, keep in mind the safety issues also. We have got rural paved roadways with a good level of service so how do you justify going in and 3 laning it and improving the drainage when it is not a capacity improvement.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
Thanks for the input so far. More ideas are welcome.

I guess I think the safety issues, like substandard lane width, lack of shoulders, etc, should be factored into capacity - some of the older Highway Capacity Manuals do that, but the latest seems to assume 12' lanes, good shoulders, etc, and provide no adjustments where that is not the case.

I like your suggestion about just sending a bunch of people down the road and am curious what others, who have more transportation planning experience think of such an experiment?
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
Thanks NH Planner. Anyone else who is interested in this topic should follow the link. Thanks also SGB. That one I have.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,952
Points
40
Lee Nellis said:
Thanks NH Planner. Anyone else who is interested in this topic should follow the link. Thanks also SGB. That one I have.

Least I can do to help the "new guy" in Northern New England. ;)

Glad I could help.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
NHPlanner said:
Least I can do to help the "new guy" in Northern New England. ;)

Glad I could help.


Watch out, Lee! At first, NHP appears to be being helpful. Next thing you know, he sucks you into a NNECAPA subcommittee. Shortly thereafter, you wake up as a regional conference chairman.

I still remember how those NNECAPA operatives work!

[shudders]

;)
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,952
Points
40
SGB said:
Watch out, Lee! At first, NHP appears to be being helpful. Next thing you know, he sucks you into a NNECAPA subcommittee. Shortly thereafter, you wake up as a regional conference chairman.

I still remember how those NNECAPA operatives work!

[shudders]

;)

Hey....I'm just the webmaster.....and awards committee chair....and.... ;-)
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
I always heard that New Englanders didn't accept you as one of their own until the 8th generation (provisionally), so I thought I'd be safe from such entanglements.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
Lee Nellis said:
I always heard that New Englanders didn't accept you as one of their own until the 8th generation (provisionally), so I thought I'd be safe from such entanglements.

Keep in mind much of the NNECAPA crowd is made up of outsiders, so they tend to ignore such regional traditions and will assimilate any planner who lets his/her guard down. Trust me on this one - you are not safe! ;)
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,952
Points
40
SGB said:
Keep in mind much of the NNECAPA crowd is made up of outsiders, so they tend to ignore such regional traditions and will assimilate any planner who lets his/her guard down. Trust me on this one - you are not safe! ;)

Outsiders?? (takes offense as a native NH resident who's lived there all 30 years of his life) ;-)

Lee is probably safe for another 2 years....the Fall Conference is in Montpelier this year, and will next be rotated back to Vermont in 2007. ;-)
 
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