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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Public Roads - Spring 2019

Spring 2019
Issue No:
Vol. 83 No. 1
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Training Update

Improving Public Safety Through Access Management

by Judy Francis

Research shows that any time roadways connect, the risks of collision, injury, and death increase. Of the approximately 6 million crashes reported in the United States each year, 55 to 75 percent are access related, meaning they occur at conflict points where vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and other modes cross paths or are forced to react to speed differentials. A multimodal approach to the principles, tools, and techniques collectively known as access management can improve safety and enhance mobility by reducing these conflicts.

Access management is the coordinated planning, regulation, and design of access between roadways and land development. The most fundamental purpose of access management is to support increased levels of economic activity over longer, more sustained periods of time in a way that protects public safety and ensures the efficient flow of people and goods. Proper access management accommodates both motorized and nonmotorized roadway users and protects public and private investments. Poor access management introduces higher risks and can result in increased delays, reduced efficiency, increased crash frequency, unsightly strip development, unwanted cut-through traffic, and decreased property values.

To support access management and protect public safety, the National Highway Institute (NHI) has revised its popular access management course into two new courses to incorporate updates from the second edition of the Access Management Manual and its companion volume, the Access Management Applications Guide.

Updating Existing Approaches

Access Management: Fundamental Principles and Application (course 133078) is NHI's 2-day instructor-led training on the fundamental concepts and applications of access management. NHI has redesigned the course to provide a hands-on approach for both technical and nontechnical participants, while offering a more multimodal view of the topic.

“The new course really reflects both the art and science to effectively implementing access management,” says Marc Butorac, PE, PTOE, PMP, the chairman of the Transportation Research Board's Access Management Committee. “The course also successfully incorporates the latest research and reflects how all modes benefit from access management techniques and policies.”

The course emphasizes accessibility and mobility, and the roles and importance of regulatory partners at all levels of government. Focusing on network completeness rather than primarily on arterial roadways, the training includes information on topics that were absent in the first edition of the Access Management Manual, such as performance measures and systems-based approaches.

Property access is necessary but inherently introduces risk. Poor access management can create a “free for all” environment that may introduce safety concerns, but careful planning can improve safety and minimize conflict points.

The first day of training introduces participants to basic access management concepts, presents the effects of successful access management programs, and covers the issues associated with the prevalence and improper location of both signalized and unsignalized access points. The content of the second day addresses individual access management techniques in more detail, provides information about administering and coordinating access management programs, and shares methods of measuring the success of access management techniques and overall programs.

NHI also offers a 3-day training option, Access Management: Fundamental Principles, Application and Computation (course 133078A), for more advanced participants. The 3-day course includes all the elements of the 2-day course. During the third day, participants take a more in-depth look at practical computational approaches to various access management techniques.

Engaging Learners

Instructors encourage participants in both courses to ask questions and share experiences. They use interactive technology to aid in completing case study exercises, most of which are performed in small groups. Both courses use a single case study corridor throughout, and each subsequent exercise builds on prior exercises, including the incorporation of video drone footage to provide greater understanding of the unique characteristics of the case study corridor. This approach enables participants to build on previously developed knowledge and requires application of all aspects of access management to a real-world example.

“I'm really proud of the metamorphosis of these courses,” says Chris Huffman, PE, a long-time certified instructor of the course. “They offer a much more hands-on experience for the participants than previous iterations [and] have been developed with a much wider audience in mind.”

For more information on this course, or to register for an upcoming session, visit

Judy Francis is a contracted marketing analyst for NHI.