# Access Location, Spacing, Turn Lanes, and Medians

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1 Design Manual Chapter 5 - Roadway Design 5L - Access Management 5L-3 Access Location, Spacing, Turn Lanes, and Medians This section addresses access location, spacing, turn lane and median needs, including TRB Principles of Access Management 5-9: A. Preserve the Functional of Intersections and Interchanges (Principle 5) AASHTO states, Ideally, driveways should not be located within the functional area of an intersection or in the influence area of an adjacent driveway. The functional area extends both upstream and downstream from the physical intersection area and includes the longitudinal limits of auxiliary lanes. 1. Upstream Functional Distance: The upstream functional distance of the intersection can be further defined as the approach distance to an intersection that is required for the driver to change speeds in order to complete a movement, such as entering an auxiliary lane or slowing down for a turn or signal. The upstream functional distance includes the sum of: d 1, distance traveled during driver s perception - reaction time d 2, deceleration distance while the driver maneuvers to a stop d 3, queue storage length required (50 foot minimum) Table 5L-3.01: Distance Traveled During Driver s Perception-reaction, (d 1) Speed (mph) Rural (feet) Urban/ Suburban (feet) Source: TRB Access Management Manual Table 5L-3.02: Desirable Maneuver Distances, (d 2) Speed (mph) Distance (feet) Source: TRB Access Management Manual 1 Revised: 2018 Edition

2 For example, at an urban intersection approach with a 30 mph speed and minimal queuing, the upstream functional distance would be 275 feet (65 feet feet + 50 feet). 2. Downstream Functional Distance: The downstream functional distance from an intersection should be based on upstream functional distance for the proposed adjacent access point. Minimum separation should be no less than the AASHTO stopping sight distance. B. Limit the Number of Conflict Points (Principle 6) Traffic conflicts occur where the paths of traffic movements cross. Eliminating or reducing conflict points will simplify the driving task, contributing to improved traffic operations and fewer collisions. Figure 5L-3.01: Types of Vehicular Conflicts C. Separate Conflict s (Principle 7) Separating conflict areas allows drivers to address one potential set of conflicts at a time. The higher the speed, the longer the distance a vehicle will travel during a given perception-reaction time. Also, drivers need more time to react to complex conflict areas. Hence minimum separation distances are a function of both the speed of traffic on a given section of roadway and the complexity of the decision with which the driver may be presented. The complexity of the problem, in turn, increases with both the number and type of conflicts and the volume of traffic. Various methods that can be utilized to separate conflict areas include the following: Minimum access spacing Minimum corner clearance Minimum property line clearance Limit the number of accesses per property Designate the access for each property 2 Revised: 2018 Edition

3 Figure 5L-3.02: Two Lane Undivided Roadway (Single Entrance) Figure 5L-3.03: Two Lane Undivided Roadway (Closely Spaced Entrances) 3 Revised: 2018 Edition

4 1. Driveway Density: The number of driveways per block or per mile significantly affects the safety of the corridor. Crash rates increase very quickly as the number of access points increases on arterial and collector roadways. Table 5L-3.03: Crash Rates (crashes per million vehicle miles traveled) vs. Access Point Density Access Points per Mile Approximate Accesses per 500 feet Representative Crash Rate for an Undivided Roadway Increase in Crashes Associated with More Access Density Under 20 Under to 40 2 to % 40 to 60 4 to % Over 60 Over % Source: National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report Access Spacing for Major Arterials: Provide separation between access connections so that drivers can assess potential conflict locations one-at-a-time. Applicable spacing criteria may include: Functional area (Section 5L-2) AASHTO stopping sight distance Preventing right turn overlap (see below) Other criteria as established by the Jurisdiction Right turn overlap occurs when a through vehicle must monitor two egress right turning vehicles at once while still performing other driving tasks. By separating access points a proper distance, the overlap does not occur, and the through driver has only one egress right turning vehicle to monitor. Recommended minimum access spacings to avoid right turn overlap shown in Table 5L-3.04 are comparable to AASHTO stopping sight distances. Table 5L-3.04: Minimum Access Spacing to Prevent Right Turn Overlap Speed (mph) Recommended Minimum (feet) Intersection clearance should be the same as driveway spacings or at least as long as stopping sight distance. Source: Transportation Research Board Record 644, Access Spacing for Minor Arterials, Collectors, and Local Streets in Urban/Suburban s: For minor arterials and major collectors, direct access from individual properties should be avoided wherever possible. Property access should be provided from minor collectors, local streets, frontage roads and backage roads. Major arterial access spacing criteria should be used for minor arterials and major collectors when possible. 4 Revised: 2018 Edition

5 Table 5L-3.05: Minimum Distance between Driveways or from Intersecting Streets A. Minimum intersection clearance 1 B. Minimum driveway spacing 2 Minor Arterial Collector Local Res. C/ I Ag Res. 3 C/I Ag Res. 3 C/I Ag Res = Residential, C/I = Commercial/Industrial 1 Values are measured from the back of the curb, intersecting road to the adjacent driveway near edge. 2 Values are measured between driveway edges. 3 One access drive allowed per lot. Depending on lot size, an additional drive may be allowed upon approval of the Jurisdiction. 4 See Jurisdictional Engineer for local requirements. 4. Access Spacing for State Primary Roads: In rural areas, travel speeds are usually 55 mile per hour and above. This means that driveway spacing in rural areas must be longer to provide for a safe driving environment. On state highways, spacing is also longer because the routes are primarily designed to carry through traffic rather than to serve as property access routes. The more important a route is for through traffic and commerce, the longer the spacing between driveways. The following table shows the State of Iowa's standards for its highway system. 5 Revised: 2018 Edition

8 E. Use Nontraversable Medians to Manage Left Turn Movements (Principle 9) The majority of access-related crashes involve left turns. Providing nontraversable medians limits and defines locations of left turns, thereby improving safety. Full access median openings that allow left turns from all directions are best provided at signalized intersections and unsignalized junctions of arterial and collector streets. Providing median closures or partial access medians at other intersections and access points reduces the number and types of conflicts. 1. Median Closures: Median openings should be considered for closure where: A safety or operational problem is evident and an appropriate retrofit cannot be made. Median width is less than 11 feet, thereby not allowing for construction of left turn lanes. The left-turn bay of a nearby signalized intersection needs to be extended. A pattern of left-turn crashes is evident. Heavy pedestrian use is predicted or crashes involving pedestrians have occurred at the intersection. Implementation of a median closure involves providing a section of median of the same design as existing on either side of the opening. The following should be considered during design: Tree lines, building lines, and lighting may head drivers into believing the median can be crossed. Visual cues should be provided to clearly inform drivers that the opening has been closed. The need for visual cues is especially critical during nighttime hours where a four way intersection previously existed or there are access drives directly opposite each other. Minimum 4 feet median width face-to-face of curbs is recommended. Select and locate landscaping materials to delineate the median while considering potential sight distance obstructions. Figure 5L-3.04: Two Lane Roadway Conflict Points at Typical Three Way Intersection or Driveway BEFORE 8 Revised: 2018 Edition

10 TWLTL are much less effective in situations where commercial driveway densities are high and these driveways are spaced close together. In such a situation, the number of conflict points is high, and this will be reflected in crash experience. Research from many states indicates that raised median roadways are always safer than TWLTL roadways. If TWLTL are considered, driveway density and driveway spacing must be managed very aggressively. Table 5L-3.08: Crash Rates (crashes per million vehicle miles traveled) vs. Median Type Access Points Per Mile Undivided (Painted Centerline) Crash Rate TWLTL Crash Rate Raised Median Crash Rate Rate Reduction Raised Median Versus TWLTL Less than (15%) 20 to (14%) 40 to (12%) Over (11%) Source: National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 420 F. References Transportation Research Board - National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). NCHRP Report 420: Impacts of Access Management Techniques. National Academy Press. Washington, DC Transportation Research Board - National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). NCHRP Report 644: Guidelines for Conducting a Disparity and Availability Study for Federal DBE Program. National Academy Press. Washington, DC Revised: 2018 Edition

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