Access Management

Coordination Between Roadway Design And Land Use Development To Improve Transportation


TDM Encyclopedia

Victoria Transport Policy Institute


Updated 2 April 2014

This chapter describes ways of increase coordination between roadway design and land use development patterns to improve transportation system performance, including reduced congestion and accidents, and improved accessibility.




Access Management is a term used by transportation professionals for coordination between roadway design and land use to improve transportation. It is defined as, “the process that provides access to land development while simultaneously preserving the flow of traffic on the surrounding road system in terms of safety, capacity, and speed.” (Access Management Website).


Access Management involves changing roadway designs and land use development patterns to limit the number of driveways and intersections on arterials and highways, constructing medians to control turning movements, encouraging Clustered development, creating more pedestrian-oriented Streetscapes, improved Connectivity, and Road Space Reallocation to encourage efficiency. Although Access Management is primarily intended to improve motor vehicle traffic flow, it can support TDM by integrating transportation and land use planning, and by improving Transportation Options. It can help convert automobile-oriented strip development into more Accessible land use patterns that are better suited to walking, cycling and public transit.


Below are ten access management strategies (CUTR 1998; Dixon, Yi and Brown 2012).


1.       Lay the foundation for access management in your local comprehensive plan.


2.       Limit the number of driveways per lot (generally, one per parcel).


3.       Locate driveways away from intersections.


4.       Connect parking lots and consolidate driveways (so vehicles can travel between parcels without reentering an arterial).


5.       Provide residential access through neighborhood streets (residential driveways should generally not connect directly to arterials).


6.       Increase minimum lot frontage on major streets (minimum lot sizes on major arterials should be larger than on minor streets).


7.       Promote a Connected street system (avoid street networks that force all local traffic onto arterials).


8.       Encourage internal access to outparcels (i.e., locations in shopping centers located on arterial streets).


9.       Regulate the location, spacing and design of driveways.


10.   Coordinate with the Department of Transportation.



How It Is Implemented

Access Management is promoted by transportation professional organizations, such as the Institute of Transportation Engineers (, the Transportation Research Board ( and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials ( It involves a variety of changes to planning, evaluation and funding (Dixon, Yi and Brown 2012). Access Management programs are usually implemented by transportation agencies. A particular staff or group may be assigned to develop Access Management guidelines and standards, and to implement Access Management activities.



Travel Impacts

Access Management can have a variety of impacts on vehicle travel. It can reduce automobile travel if it results in higher-density, more Accessible, Compact, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented development, as discussed in Land Use Impacts on Transportation. It can help improve Nonmotorized Travel conditions, accommodate Universal Design (transportation systems that meet the needs of people with disabilities and other special needs), and improve Transit service efficiency. It can support Parking Management objectives, particularly Shared Parking. Not all Access Management activities support TDM objectives. Some projects simply increase arterial traffic speeds and volumes, which can increase automobile travel.


Table 1          Travel Impact Summary




Reduces total traffic.


May include features that reduce vehicle travel, but other features increase total traffic.

Reduces peak period traffic.



Shifts peak to off-peak periods.



Shifts automobile travel to alternative modes.


Can improve nonmotorized travel conditions and transit service.

Improves access, reduces the need for travel.


May include land use features that improve access.

Increased ridesharing.



Increased public transit.


May improve transit service.

Increased cycling.


May improve cycling conditions.

Increased walking.


May improve walking conditions.

Increased Telework.



Reduced freight traffic.



Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.



Benefits And Costs

Benefits include smoother vehicle flow, reduced delay and fewer crashes (Gluck, Levinson and Stover, 1999; Demosthenes, 2003; Dixon, Yi and Brown 2012). Clustered development can improve walking, cycling and transit travel (Evaluating Nonmotorized Transport), reduce parking requirements (Parking Management) and improve emergency responses. Effective Access Management planning can also reduce total roadway facility costs by reducing the number of driveways and intersections. Demosthenes (2003) finds that access locations (driveways and intersections) account for more than 60% of vehicular crashes in urban areas, so incorporating access management strategies can significantly reduce urban crash rates, as well as providing mobility and community livability benefits.


Costs include those associated with shifting planning and design practices (e.g. staff training, development of new guidelines and standards) and program management. There may be additional costs associated with specific designs, such as more cluster development, and changes to driveway access. It can favor economic development in some locations over others, which imposes costs on some businesses and property owners, and benefits others. Access Management that reduces traffic conflict and traffic speeds, or reduces total vehicle travel, can increase traffic safety (Safety Impacts of TDM). Access Management that simply increases arterial traffic speeds can increase automobile use, and may discourage nonmotorized transportation.


Table 2          Benefit Summary




Congestion Reduction


Improves arterial traffic flow. May encourage alternative modes.

Road & Parking Savings


Clustering can reduce road and parking requirements.

Consumer Savings


No significant impacts.

Transport Choice


Improves nonmotorized and transit transport.

Road Safety


Reduced crash risk.

Environmental Protection


Clustering can reduce automobile travel and pavement area.

Efficient Land Use


Can encourage more transportation-efficient land use.

Community Livability


Can reduce local traffic impacts and improve pedestrian conditions.

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.



Equity Impacts

Access Management activities can have a number of equity impacts. Changing vehicle access and development patterns can harm some businesses and property owners, while benefiting others. Property owners sometimes receive compensation for lost access. Access Management tends to benefit people who are transportation disadvantaged by improving Transportation Options and creating more Accessible land use patterns.


Table 3          Equity Summary




Treats everybody equally.


Some property owners may feel unfairly treated.

Individuals bear the costs they impose.


Reduces some externalities (congestion and crash risk).

Progressive with respect to income.


No impact.

Benefits transportation disadvantaged.


Can improve walking, cycling and transit.

Improves basic mobility.


Can improve alternative modes and emergency access.

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.




Access Management is most appropriate on urban and suburban arterials and in urban areas with growing traffic and development. Access Management is usually implemented by state/provincial, regional and local transportation agencies, sometimes with developers’ support.


Table 4          Application Summary





Large urban region.


Federal government.


High-density, urban.


State/provincial government.


Medium-density, urban/suburban.


Regional government.




Municipal/local government.


Low-density, rural.


Business Associations/TMA.


Commercial center.


Individual business.


Residential neighborhood.




Resort/recreation area.


Neighborhood association.


Arterials/strip development




Ratings range from 0 (not appropriate) to 3 (very appropriate).




TDM Program and Land Use Management



Relationships With Other TDM Strategies

Access Management supports Smart Growth, New Urbanism, Location Efficient Development, Parking Management, Traffic Calming, Transit Oriented Development, Transit Improvements, Nonmotorized Transport Improvements, Universal Design, Prioritizing Transportation, Traffic Operations and Road Space Reallocation.




Access Management programs are usually implemented by local, regional, state or provincial transportation agencies. Business and neighborhood associations are often involved in planning specific Access Management projects.



Barriers To Implementation

A major barrier is lack of awareness of Access Management among transportation professionals. There is often institutional resistance to new approaches within transportation agencies, and conflicts among stakeholders. Resistance from property owners who lose driveways connecting directly to arterials can be a barrier to specific Access Management projects.



Best Practices

Various publications and professional organizations listed below provide information on Access Management best practices. Some recommendations include:


·         Establish Access Management programs and policies, so they will be in place as specific projects are developed.


·         Integrate Access Management with other transportation and land use planning activities, and with TDM programs.


·         Consider Access Management early during project planning.


·         Use Access Management to improve transit and nonmotorized travel, not just motor vehicle traffic.


·         Produce a Transportation Access Guide, which concisely describes how to a destination by various travel modes.



Wit and Humor

A ham sandwich walks into a bar and orders a drink.

The bartender says, I am sorry, but we don't serve food here.



Case Studies and Examples

Iowa Access Management Project (

This project includes case studies that examine both engineering and economic analysis of various Access Management projects.



Access Management Website (

This has an extensive bibliography with case studies of various types of Access Management projects.



References And Resources For More Information


Access Management Website (, Transportation Research Board.


CUTR (1995), Land Development and Subdivision Regulations that Support Access Management, Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida (


CUTR (1998), Ten Ways to Manage Roadway Access in Your Community, Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida (


Philip Demosthenes (2003), How Planning Decisions Impact Highway Collision Histories, 2nd Urban Street Symposium, Anaheim, California (


Karen K. Dixon, Xiang Yi and Lacy Brown (2012), Access Management Best Practices Manual, Oregon Department of Transportation; at


DVTPC (2008), Smart Transportation Guidebook: Planning and Designing Highways and Streets that Support Sustainable and Livable Communities, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (; at


FHWA (2002), Life-cycle Cost Analysis Primer, Federal Highway Administration (


Ronald K. Giguere (2000), Access Management In The New Millennium, Submitted By The Access Management Committee (A1D07), Transportation Research Board (


Jerome Gluck, Herbert S. Levinson and Vergil Stover (1999), Impacts of Access Management Techniques, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Report 420



Elizabeth Humstone and Julie Campoli (1998), Roadway Access Management Guide, Planners Web (, Planning Commission Journal, Issue 29, Winter.


ITE (2000), “Access Management: A Key to Safety and Mobility,” Traffic Engineering Handbook, Institute of Transportation Engineers (


ITE (2010), “Access Management – Special Issue,” ITE Journal, Vol. 80, No. 1, Institute of Transportation Engineers (


ITE (2010), Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context-Sensitive Approach, An ITE Recommended Practice, Institute of Transportation Engineers ( and Congress for New Urbanism (; draft version at


Ottawa (2004), Area Traffic Management Guidelines; Appendices (Draft), Department of Public Works and Services City of Ottawa (; available at and


PennDOT (2007), The Transportation and Land Use Toolkit: A Planning Guide for Linking Transportation to Land Use and Economic Development, Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation, PUB 616 (3-07); at (


SACOG (2011), Complete Streets Resource Toolkit, Sacramento Area Council of Governments (; at


TRB (2003), Access Management Manual, Transportation Research Board ( This comprehensive, 370-page manual provides detailed information on roadway access management, including recommendations for implementing access management programs, and specific design issues.


WCEL (2004), Smart Bylaws Guide, West Coast Environmental Law Foundation ( This comprehensive guide describes smart growth practices, provides technical standards and model bylaws that can be tailored to specific municipal circumstances, and includes numerous case studies.


Kristine Williams and Herbert S. Levinson (2010), “Access Management – An Overview,” ITE Journal, Vol. 80, No. 1, pp. 24-28, Institute of Transportation Engineers (

This Encyclopedia is produced by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute to help improve understanding of Transportation Demand Management. It is an ongoing project. Please send us your comments and suggestions for improvement.




Encyclopedia Homepage

Send Comments


Victoria Transport Policy Institute

1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC,  V8V 3R7,  CANADA

Phone & Fax 250-360-1560

“Efficiency - Equity - Clarity”