As each new day begins, our communities experience a mass shift as people across the globe complete their daily commutes. Although vehicle-oriented infrastructure such as arterial roads and freeways represents a great feat in mobility, the quality of our regional connections is at risk of being diminished as those systems continue to grow.
Transportation systems should not create barriers, which can happen when safe, non-motorized access is limited. This can lead to undesirable travel for more vulnerable transportation users who rely on active transportation and transit, for wildlife navigating shifting terrain, and for communities bisected by major roadways. Without accessible and safe alternative mobility options, urban planners can expect to see dangerous roadway situations for users, such as pedestrian travel along roads due to lack of sidewalks, unsignalized crossings at high-volume and high-speed roadways, or bicyclists forced to mix with inappropriately high traffic speeds.
With safety and convenience in mind, many cities are searching for ways to mitigate barriers and accommodate vulnerable transportation users while still meeting the needs for high-volume vehicle infrastructure and the future projected population growth in many urban, suburban, and even rural areas.
At Horrocks Engineers, we create viable transportation solutions for all roadway users. With years of experience providing transportation infrastructure, planning, and environmental services, we recognize the challenge of safely and effectively moving millions of people each day. This is why we make it our responsibility to deliver unique transportation solutions that directly meet all the needs of each community.
Elevating Active Transportation Through Mobility Options
“Everyone starts and ends their journey as a pedestrian – and we must keep that in mind as we plan our transportation systems.”
Transportation demand is increasing in our communities. Roadway volumes are stretched and will become congested as our urban cores become more dense, making multiple avenues for transportation more important than ever for city planners and engineers alike. But, while added mobility may seem as simple as installing bike lanes along a highway to encourage active living, our team knows that there is no “one-size-fits-all" approach to a good transportation plan. Considering active transportation improvements holistically and as part of a network is the key to success.
“Mitigating barriers for vulnerable roadway users looks like a lot of things, but in particular it’s about assessing needs and gaps in each community, understanding land uses and demographics, and then tailoring solutions to those needs. Everyone starts and ends their journey as a pedestrian – and we must keep that in mind as we plan our transportation systems. Our communities are asking for safer, more walkable streets. I’m passionate about elevating pedestrian and bicycle networks and infrastructure and making those modes more attractive, convenient, and viable. The goal isn’t to get people to stop driving, but to give them other options. It’s also important to consider mobility choices as an equity strategy to provide opportunities for those that do not have access to an automobile.”
— Alexis Verson, Senior Transportation Planner
Horrocks has years of experience providing transportation planning and infrastructure design that is inclusive for pedestrians and bicyclists alike that removes barriers between communities and provides safe, convenient access between their networks of travel.
SR-248 Pedestrian Access Improvements
Park City, Utah
The Park City Municipal Corporation selected Horrocks to design an underground pedestrian and bicycle tunnel underneath Kearns Boulevard in Park City, Utah, to connect Park City High School with adjacent neighborhoods. The completion of this tunnel improved pedestrian and bicyclist safety by eliminating a High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) signal in front of the high school, thus reducing pedestrian-vehicle interaction along the highway. Because accessibility and atmosphere were critical on this project, design features such as lighting, access ramps, and a unique snowmelt system were included to encourage year-round community use.
Boise Downtown Intermodal Center
The Horrocks team provided traffic engineering, transportation planning, and civil engineering services for the new Valley Regional Transit (VRT) multimodal center in downtown Boise. This project aimed to improve public transit and intercity commuting throughout the region by integrating multi-modal transportation at the heart of the downtown pedestrian plaza. With the completion of this multimodal center, the Main Street Station is now a central hub for multiple modes of transportation, allowing safe and convenient travel for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users.
Improving Driver and Wildlife Safety by Reconnecting Landscapes
“[There are] proven solutions that, when designed and implemented strategically, can reduce the number of wildlife collisions to save costs and, most significantly, human and animal lives.”
As heavy highways extend farther across rural landscapes, fragmentation can occur in wildlife habitats. This disconnection between the animal populations and their natural environments can be dangerous for both wildlife and humans on the road. As animals migrate across roadways, the risk for road mortality rises exponentially. In recent years alone, the number of reported animal-vehicle collisions (AVCs) has increased by 50 percent (1).
“Wildlife and vehicle collisions are a major safety concern in some areas. This safety and economic problem is driving the need to look at connecting habitats near our expanding network of roads, highways, and interchanges. Potential solutions to this problem include multi-use crossing and combinations of over/under crossings, wildlife fencing, and animal-on-roadway detection systems. There are proven solutions that, when designed and implemented strategically, can reduce the number of wildlife collisions to save costs and, most significantly, human and animal lives. This is where the work of Horrocks begins.”
— Kurt Wald, Boise Environmental Programs Leader
For any project, it is important to understand how infrastructure will affect the surrounding environment. Our team provides all levels of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents, including Environmental Assessments (EAs) and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs), and offers a variety of biological and ecological services to meet our clients’ evolving needs. Using this data, we can design solutions that help mitigate road barriers and provide safe animal movement.
USA Parkway Design-Build
Horrocks worked with Ames Construction and the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) as the lead designer in the 19-mile-long USA Parkway Design-Build project. This project connected the greater Reno/Sparks area by constructing a transportation link between I-80 in Storey County and US-50 in Lyon County. The location surrounding this project hosts a large wild horse population, and to improve driver and animal safety, our teams developed designs to accommodate the movement of local wildlife. These modifications included approximately 31 miles of wildlife fencing, several wildlife crossing structures, and solar-powered flashing beacons above Horse Warning signs.
Enhancing Community Connectivity Through Public Involvement
“By proactively engaging their communities in the decision-making process, our clients are able to incorporate solutions that build trust with the communities they serve and create solutions that both clients and the communities are proud of.”
Because communities are directly affected by their surrounding infrastructure, it is crucial for stakeholders and project managers to be involved in the public forum to ensure that their work will not become a barrier within the community itself. With cities taking more initiative to expand active transportation infrastructure, the need for professional public involvement services continues to rise. Communicating with stakeholders and the public early on can help project managers understand the community’s needs, thus avoiding unnecessary project impacts or delays.
“Access to convenient and safe options for walking, biking, and transit promotes greater community connections. As an environmental public involvement specialist, I care about people and the communities that they live in and encourage opportunities for community engagement early in the environmental process. By proactively engaging their communities in the decision-making process, our clients are able to incorporate solutions that build trust with the communities they serve and create solutions that both clients and the communities are proud of.”
— Samantha Patterson, Environmental Public Involvement Specialist
To improve the decision-making process and mitigate project risk, Horrocks provides professional public involvement services to better inform the public and to develop partnerships within the community. From strategic planning and stakeholder communication to branding and crisis planning, our specialists open the channels of communication to help the public feel more closely connected with each project.
I-15 Milepost 11 Interchange EIS
Washington City, Utah
When the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) proposed a new interchange along I-15 near milepost 11, local residents became concerned that the new infrastructure would have a negative impact on their way of life. The project inspired much public controversy due to its location in historic downtown Washington City, and the Preferred Alternative created controversy regarding neighborhood safety. To address residents’ concerns, Horrocks developed a robust public involvement plan that included an EIS, a Community Social Assessment, and a diverse Community Coordination Team. This strategy proved useful when addressing concerns for pedestrian and bicyclist crossings and made the public feel more connected in the decision-making process.
I-80 Wildlife Overpass Public Involvement
Summit County, Utah
In late 2018, UDOT unveiled plans to construct a wildlife passage over I-80 in Summit County, Utah, in an effort to improve driver and animal safety; the area had previously acquired the nickname "Slaughter Row" due to the high concentration of animal collisions. This project became the largest wildlife-only overpass in the state, passing over six lanes of traffic. To help in this endeavor, Horrocks was chosen to provide public involvement services including key message development, media relations, interagency coordination, video production, social media content development, and more.
See the how this wildlife bridge has helped animals cross I-80 safely in the above video.
Connecting Communities at Horrocks Engineers
At Horrocks, we believe that we have a responsibility to our communities to improve safety, elevate mobility, and create connections for all. Our motto, “Creating connections to the future,” is illustrated each day in the work we provide to mitigate barriers between people and the communities they form. For more information about how Horrocks builds up communities and supports greater transportation connectivity, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Transportation Planner
Boise Environmental Programs Leader
Environmental Public Involvement Specialist
M.P. Huijser, P. McGowen, J. Fuller, A. Hardy, A. Kociolek, A.P. Clevenger, D. Smith & R. Ament. (2008). Wildlife-Vehicle Collision Reduction Study: Report to Congress. Federal Highway Administration, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/08034/exec.cfm