Successful shared-use paths offer a continuous and extended recreation and transportation experience. Avoiding vehicular conflict is a major challenge in urban environments where shared-use paths intersect the roadway network on a regular basis. Many urban shared-use paths follow former rail lines or channelized watercourses that intersect multilane roads well away from signalized intersections, and that often intersect at skewed angles that impact visibility. Geometric constraints, financial resources and incompatible adjacent land uses can require trail planners to contemplate and implement at-grade crossings.
This brief overview of treatments is intended as an introduction for both planners and community members.
Despite the challenges, the studied crossings offer numerous measures that can increase the safety of these at–grade crossings and make crossing major roadways easier for trail users. The improvements fall into the following functional categories, which are expanded on and are best used together for a comprehensive solution:
- Reduce rail users’ exposure to traffic and crossing distance.
- Increase mutual awareness and visibility.
- Manage traffic speed and flow.
This study was funded by the Healthy Transportation Network (HTN), a project of the California Active Communities (CAC) within the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The HTN is a statewide project funded by the Caltrans Statewide Transportation Enhancements Activities Program, and is a collaboration of the following five organizations: California Bicycle Coalition; California Department of Public Health, California Active Communities; California WALKS; Local Government Commission; and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Western Regional Office.