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Journal Article


Lehtomaa J, Jokela J. Res. Rep. Finn. Transp. Agency 2012; (3): online.


(Copyright © 2012, Finnish Transport Agency)






Sites that generate large traffic flows are, for example, shopping malls, other commercial centers, and venues for public events. They have an impact on traffic flow, traffic safety, and the detrimental effects of traffic, such as noise and emissions. Ensuring smooth traffic flow and traffic safety and minimizing the negative effects of such sites should be addressed when planning land use, the site itself, and the surrounding traffic network. A sufficient flow of customers to shopping malls and commercial centers needs to be ensured, so commercial operators seek to locate sites near busy traffic routes. Short planning and building timetables make it difficult to foresee and manage the development of commercial areas. These sites are usually also built in phases, so longterm, disciplined land-use planning and reservation of sufficient room for traffic are important. Initially, traffic growth brought about by expanded land use usually leads to problems at junctions near the site. Traffic generated by these sites may aggravate possible pre-existing problems with traffic flow on main routes and lead to major investments in infrastructure. Traffic studies and traffic planning at sites that generate large traffic flows should be done sufficiently early in the planning phase, when the possibility to influence planning is the greatest. This work presents a planning process for studies, describing and documenting the content of the most important planning phases. By agreeing on the principles of reviews and conditions to be met already at the beginning of a project, it is possible to concentrate on compiling essential studies. Studies are typically compiled in phases, from traffic forecasts and functionality reviews to broader impact assessments. Sensitivity analysis of the most significant impacts are needed. Bicycle and pedestrian traffic and public transport should be taken into consideration at the very beginning of a site's traffic planning. This avoids having to fit these solutions into the space allotted for traffic afterward, which weakens the functionality of these modes of travel. The technical solutions of these arrangements should be kept as simple as possible and regionally similar. Harmonious, expected arrangements improve traffic safety and traffic flow. Documentation facilitates subsequent planning phases and functions as appendices in zoning material. This work recommends traffic-related studies that should be compiled when planning sites that generate large traffic flows and principles for implementing traffic arrangements. The purpose of the recommendations is to ensure that the compiled studies can be used for impact assessments and as a basis for planning. To avoid unnecessary planning, the studies should concentrate on essential issues. The recommended studies should be applied case by case. Traffic-related solutions depend on the location of the site and the special features of the traffic environment, so it is difficult to present universal principles. Sites must be planned case by case. Solutions should take into consideration the traffic network and its hierarchy; the desired speed level; junction layouts; the site's position within the road network; guidelines concerning junction intervals, junction types, traffic control, and traffic signs; parking; the functionality of bicycle and pedestrian traffic; construction in phases; expandability; and measures that alleviate detrimental effects. Essential principles: 1. stepped hierarchy of the traffic network. For example, exiting from parking areas to main routes should happen via lower-class roads, not directly from land-use junctions. 2. junctions should be spaced far enough apart so that traffic arrangements are clear-cut and safe. Good signage also requires sufficient distances. 3. sufficient room should be reserved for traffic arrangements to make it easier to implement them in phases. 4. land use should not be planned on both sides of a busy traffic route, as this causes intersecting traffic, thereby weakening traffic flow and safety. 5. the main traffic lanes in a parking area should clarify the parking area's arrangements. 6. the needs of service, freight, and rescue traffic should be taken into consideration in plans. 7. trained traffic directors should be needed to direct traffic only during special events (such as opening days). 8. plans for abnormal situations should be compiled in advance.



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