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Deerfoot Trail Study

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The City is working with Alberta Transportation to develop short-term and long-term plans to manage traffic volumes and improve safety on Deerfoot Trail. The short-term portion of the study, now complete, included collecting and analysing input from more than 10,000 Calgary stakeholders, conducting a technical assessment and reviewing the results of 15 earlier studies conducted over a 20-year period.


The options needed to meet the following criteria:

  • Provide benefits for five to 10 years
  • Able to be designed and implemented within two years of being funded
  • Offer improvements for problem locations that benefit the entire corridor
  • Result in benefits that are greater than the cost within 10 years

Many improvement options were identified and considered along the entire corridor – in both directions – including for the problem areas around 17 Avenue S.E., Glenmore Trail and the Ivor Strong Bridge. The designs that will address those areas require significant infrastructure investment and do not meet the criteria mentioned above for consideration in the short-term. However, those areas will be addressed in the long-term recommendations. For more details on some of the options considered, please see the Short-term Options Stakeholder Workshop What We Heard report.

The short-term recommendations are preliminary and have been advanced enough to identify what additional land would be needed and the estimated cost to implement them. These details will help to inform future funding decisions. Currently, there is no funding for short- or long-term improvements on Deerfoot Trail.

Next Steps

The project team will resume the long-term planning study. Public engagement events are expected in late fall 2017 to begin gathering input on the types of freeway management tools that could be used on Deerfoot Trail, as well as potential improvement options. The study and long-term recommendations will be complete by the end of 2018.

Deerfoot Trail Study overview

The City of Calgary and Alberta Transportation are working together to develop a plan to manage traffic and improve safety on Deerfoot Trail. The Deerfoot Trail study is considering a wide range of possible freeway management strategies, including some new to Calgary. The overall emphasis is on maximizing the existing infrastructure, accommodating future growth and aligning with relevant long-range planning documents, including the Calgary Transportation Plan.

Deerfoot Trail is Calgary’s oldest freeway, and the busiest in Alberta. The majority of Deerfoot Trail was built between 1971 and 1982. The city’s population has doubled since 1981 and the aging infrastructure is no longer meeting current traffic demand, resulting in traffic congestion, unreliability and safety concerns.

(Click image to enlarge)


The study boundaries are the Stoney Trail interchanges in the north and south. This 37.5 km stretch includes 20 interchanges and more than 40 bordering communities. Please note: the Stoney Trail interchanges are included only as scope limits. The study team doesn’t expect any solutions will significantly affect these intersections.


  • Deerfoot Trail is part of the National Highway Network and managed by Alberta Transportation.
  • In Calgary, Deerfoot Trail is part of the Primary Goods Movement Network, and is classified as a skeletal road in the Calgary Transportation Plan. Skeletal roads are often high-speed roads aimed at moving cars and trucks for long distances.
  • The average daily traffic ranges from 83,000 vehicles per day at the south end to 170,000 vehicles per day north of Memorial Drive.
  • Deerfoot Trail is the only road, other than Stoney Trail, providing a continuous north-south connection across the city, and the only north-south skeletal road serving central and east Calgary.

Public engagement

The joint project team is implementing a thorough public engagement and communications program as part of the Deerfoot trail study. Both The City of Calgary and Alberta Transportation recognize the value of understanding this important road from many perspectives. There currently aren’t any public engagement opportunities at this time.


From June 1 – 30, 2016, participants could provide input about their experiences using Deerfoot Trail by completing an online questionnaire, pinning comments to an online map or attending one of six open houses. We received thousands of completed questionnaires (8000+) and map comments (3000+). This feedback helped confirm the problem areas, provide context around user experiences and identify priorities to used in all future phases of the study. Please view the What We Heard reports for graphics, summaries and verbatim comments.


Over the last 20 years, there have been 17 studies about Deerfoot Trail. Using those studies, the 10,000+ comments from citizens during the first phase of engagement and an updated technical analysis of the corridor today, the project team developed numerous potential short-term improvement options. Given that so much feedback had already been gathered, and being cognizant of cost and time, the project team invited representatives from the key stakeholder groups identified for the study to provide input on those options.

In late 2016, The City of Calgary held two stakeholder workshops to review short-term improvement options. Each workshop began with a presentation to provide an overview of the study and the short-term improvement options that were considered but not moving forward. Then participants were asked to work on smaller groups to discuss and give feedback on the options still under consideration. Please view the Phase 2 Short-term Improvement Options Stakeholder Workshop What We Heard report for more information.

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