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Rest Areas, Utilities & Landscaping

Aerial view of Rouge River highway section.
Department of Transportation

Rest Areas, Utilities & Landscaping

Developing a Consistent Data Driven Methodology  to Multimodal, Performance Based, and Context Sensitive Design

Project Number: SPR-1719

Contract Number: 2019-0996

Status: Complete

Start Date: 10/01/2019

End Date: 09/30/2022


Transportation agencies have begun to adopt design practices that introduce greater flexibility and promote a more holistic approach to design as opposed to a strict adherence in designing to standards. This allows for explicit consideration of economic, social, and environmental resources as opposed to more traditional design strategies that are largely focused on physical aspects, standards, and specifications. This approach results in the development of transportation facilities that are well suited to contextual factors that are unique to communities, as well as the range of transportation users and modes that are expected to use these facilities.

The purpose of this project was to develop methods and tools that can be used at the early planning stage in order to aid the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) in key design decisions, such as the consideration of specific travel modes and the selection of relevant cross-sectional characteristics. The study involved a review of state and national guidance focused on the selection of appropriate treatments to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists, including associated decision criteria. A review was also conducted as to the availability of pertinent data sources at the statewide level. A review of best practices led to the identification of various pedestrian and bicyclist treatments for various site types. This information was supplemented by a review of current MDOT practices, culminating in the development of treatment matrices for four site types: (1) pedestrian segments; (2) bicycle segments; (3) midblock crossings; and (4) intersection crossings. For each site type, the corresponding matrices identify potential treatments that are appropriate based upon annual average daily traffic, speed limit, context, number of lanes, and median type. For each combination of these input variables, up to three prospective treatments were identified. To aid transportation agency staff in utilizing these matrices, a decision-support tool was developed using Visual Basic for Applications. The tool allows the user to enter site-specific information, which is then used to identify prospective treatments that can be applied across a range of scenarios. The content developed as a part of this project will assist MDOT in apply a consistent data-driven approach to highway design that is multimodal, performance-based, and context-sensitive.





Research Manager Project Manager Performing Organization
Staff photo of Michael Townley Staff photo of John Martin Michigan State University logo
Michael Townley John Martin Michigan State University