A new report recommends carpool lanes, space for buses to drive on the shoulders of highways, and park-and-ride lots in corridors around the Capital Region.
The study suggests the QEII is used for a pilot project because of its connection to the Edmonton International Airport, the expected growth in population in south Edmonton and Leduc County and the fact the highway lends itself well to converting the median to high-occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV).
The engineering design firm AECOM was hired by the Capital Region Board to conduct the report. The firm stated that shorter travel time for buses, carpools, and airport vehicles as a result of the pilot project on the QEII could lead to projects in other corridors around the region.
The HOV lanes would serve anyone with two or more people in the car, including transit buses, private buses and taxis with customers.
The project has relatively low cost and little risk because if the HOV lanes prove to be a problem, eligibility criteria and hours of operation can be changed or turned into general use, according to the study.
It’s also recommended to add park-and-ride lots along the corridor.
AECOM suggests the project would not only shorten travel time on the QEII between Edmonton and Leduc, but it would also reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and extend the life of the highway.
On Thursday, the Capital Region Board’s transit committee endorsed looking into a pilot project. Members clarified it wouldn’t happen right away but they are simply planning for the future.
Ultimately, the project would need provincial approval.
The Integrated Regional Transportation Master Plan highlights 98 Avenue to Baseline Road in Sherwood Park and Whyte Avenue to Wye Road in Sherwood Park as other transit priorities over the next 10 years.