Access Management Brings Transportation Professionals Together in Shanghai China

October 30, 2014

Several members of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Access Management recently returned from Shanghai, China, where transportation professionals from around the world gathered for the International Conference on Access Management at Tongji University.

Marc Butorac, a senior principal engineer at KAI, chairs the committee and gave opening remarks for the two-day conference, which took place Sept. 25-27. The Chinese government hosted Marc and 11 fellow committee members, who provided presentations and toured areas where access management is a priority.

Chinese officials and transportation professionals have focused on access management as a key strategy for improving highway safety, Marc says. “One thing they are ahead of us on is how to make access management more multimodal. With about 25 million people living in Shanghai, they have a lot more potential for those interactions that we don’t have here.”

Shanghai, which uses the Chinese translated version of TRB’s 2003 Access Management Manual, boasts an impressive subway system and significant urban density, Marc says. The city also manages traffic with a system of colored license plates that designate which thoroughfares are to be used by which vehicles.

This was the second International Conference on Access Management, and it drew about 80 attendees. Chinese organizers said the conference’s aim was “efficient, safe, smart and innovative ways to strengthen academic exchange at home and abroad and learn about up-to-date developments in the field.”

In addition to Marc, who presented on interchange area management plans and the importance of protecting crossroads in the vicinity of interchanges, other committee members who presented included Hein Stander with AECOM in South Africa; Kristine Williams with the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research; Gary Sokolow with the Florida Department of Transportation; and Barbara De Ste. Croix with the Washington Department of Transportation.

Marc says the conference dovetailed with the TRB committee’s focus on multimodal aspects, which encompass the many types of conflicts that can occur within Complete Street environments with increased pedestrian, bicycle, and transit users. It also illustrated the evolution of access management from just driveways to properly managing all conflict points between users.

“This conference highlighted the need for access management to be multimodal because cities’ populations are going to grow, not only in China but around the world, so the need to focus on the multimodal aspects is really critical,” Marc says.

The TRB recently updated the definition of access management as part of the soon-to-be-released 2nd Edition Access Management Manual to read: “Access management is the coordinated planning, regulation, and design of access between roadways and land development. It encompasses a range of methods that promote the efficient and safe movement of people and goods by reducing conflicts on the roadway system and at its interface with other modes of travel. These methods include improvements to benefit transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists, as well as different treatments for urban, suburban, and rural settings.”

The TRB Committee on Access Management and the AASHTO Subcommittee on Design will co-host their joint national conference Sept. 21-24, 2015, in Seattle. The 2016 3rd International Conference on Access Management will take place in Cape Town, South Africa.

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