The numbers are crunched and despite high volumes over the long weekend and on July 1, traffic delays through downtown Banff were minimized.
Canada Day experienced the greatest volume with 25,475 vehicles per day; Monday, June 30 was busy with 23,491 vehicles per day, which was slightly less than Sunday, June 29, at 24,321 vehicles per day. Saturday, June 28 there were 23,109 vehicles per day. Banff’s threshold for the onset of congestion is considered to be approximately 20,000 vehicles per day.
The vehicle per day count is the number of vehicles entering and exiting the townsite via Norquay and Banff Avenue over a 24 hour period.
The average maximum delay over the June 28-30 weekend for a northbound journey (from the gondola/hot springs to Banff Avenue) downtown and beyond was approximately 15 minutes, based on GPS data. To analyze this congestion, the Town uses GPS travel time data, and compares it to an off-peak time (October 23, 2013), which gives an approximate indication of any delay due to traffic.
The Town implemented a number of measures over the weekend to mitigate the high traffic volumes, including adjusting the timing of signal lights and adding traffic ambassadors at the mid-block crosswalks to coordinate pedestrian crossings with the signals. Ambassadors were also at the scramble intersections to ensure pedestrians obeyed the walk signals.
Traffic volume in the town of Banff from June 28-30 was 25 per cent higher than the May 2014 long weekend or June 29-July 1 long weekend in 2013.
The town is exploring additional wireless methods to record travel times of both vehicles and pedestrians, which could eventually be communicated in real-time and provide a more accurate picture of congestion and traffic delays. Traffic webcams are being installed on key routes, and will be broadcast on the town’s website. Traffic counters were permanently deployed in June 2013 at the two highway entrances to Banff as well to provide vehicle counts.
“We will be able to gather and report accurate traffic data on a consistent basis,” said Robert Earl, the town manager. “The knowledge will help us better manage the higher volumes, and will help visitors and residents plan their journeys to avoid delays.”
For example, he said, the data shows a big spike in delays northbound (from the gondola/hot springs to Banff Avenue) between 4-6 p.m. on heavy volume days, as visitors return to their hotels, campgrounds or homes after an afternoon activity. “Armed with this knowledge, visitors could plan their day accordingly – leave Sulphur Mountain or Cave and Basin later or earlier, or leave their car at their hotel and take Roam transit.”
Summer weekend traffic data will be regularly reported on banff.ca/waystogo