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Roadway Connectivity

Applicability Urban Suburban Rural Agricultural Natural

roadway connectivity photo

Landscapes2 Relevance

Landscapes2 identifies traffic congestion as representing the primary negative impact in the County, and also the most important issue facing the County. Landscapes2 policies encourage land use controls, design standards, and access management measures that reduce vehicular dependency, provide mobility alternatives, and promote increased roadway safety.

This tool also promotes energy conservation because increased roadway connectivity can result in a decreased number of vehicle miles traveled. Increased connectivity will also reduce the time spent in vehicles and thus reduce carbon emissions that occur with the use of automobiles.

Description

Designing and constructing a roadway network with a high degree of connectivity is an important, efficient strategy for accommodating increased traffic. Connectivity is defined as the measurement of a system of streets with multiple routes and connections serving the same origins and destinations. Simply stated, a high degree of connectivity means there are many ways to get from Point A to Point B. An inter-connected roadway network can accommodate more travel demand than a roadway network with limited connectivity.

The traditional grid-style street layout provides excellent connectivity because streets are interlinked at numerous points, intersections are closely spaced, and there are few dead-ends. The presence of a grid pattern and alternate parallel streets allows the state highway and other major roads to serve their main purpose — moving vehicles over longer distances — while shorter trips can take place on local streets. However, suburban municipalities with individual, isolated cul-de-sac developments typically require access onto arterial streets, and often inhibit walking and bicycling by both adults and children. These suburban developments create congestion by overloading the limited number of intersections within the network. Typically, the best solution is to provide for a balance of increased connectivity with the opportunity for cul-de-sacs or dead-end streets where appropriate, and the use of traffic calming measures for reducing speeds and improving safety.

Who Could Benefit From This Tool

Officials in municipalities that are experiencing significant growth or those in municipalities with existing traffic congestion problems will benefit from this tool, especially in municipalities with financial limitations or limits to building completely new roadways. Residents, commuters, bicycle riders, pedestrians and others can also benefit from the increased mobility and safety, and decreased congestion that an interconnected roadway system can provide.

Advantages

The potential benefits of roadway connectivity include:

Source: PennDOT Pub 731: Improving Connectivity and System Function Through Local Planning

Limitations

Potential limitations of increasing roadway connectivity may include:

Source: PennDOT Pub 731: Improving Connectivity and System Function Through Local Planning

How To Use This Tool

Two resources that municipal officials should reference when planning for roadway connectivity include:

Both of these documents provide significant guidance for local municipalities by recommending various planning tools, measures and studies and provide case studies examining the pros and cons of development patterns in existing communities. The following are the topics covered (in outline form) from each of these documents:

PennDOT Pub. 731: Improving Connectivity and System Function Through Local Planning (July 2012)

Street Connectivity: Improving the Function and Performance of Your Local Streets, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (June 2011)

Examples

The following connectivity examples within Chester County municipalities are illustrated through a combination of historical aerial photos and planning documents:

Caln Township

G.O. Carlson Boulevard is planned to be an arterial collector street that runs parallel to the north and provides congestion relief from the heavily traveled Business Route 30. This roadway has been developed incrementally over time and will achieve full buildout with the completion of the final segment between Park Drive and Hidden Creek Drive. This continuous roadway is envisioned with the Future Transportation Plan element of the Caln Township's Comprehensive Plan.

Caln Township connectivity example Caln Township Future Transportation Plan

East Caln Township

This example shows how East Caln Township officials utilized the Official Map for the development of Bell Tavern Road.

East Caln Township connectivity example Official Map of East Caln Township

Lionville

This example shows how various roadway connections were developed in the vicinity of the PA 100/PA 113 intersection as part of a Master Plan/Land Development Process.

Greater Lionville connectivity example Greater Lionville Master Plan map

West Whiteland Township

This example illustrates how Commerce Drive was developed to provide connectivity around the PA 100 and Business Route 30 intersection.

West Whiteland Township connectivity example

Related References