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Project update: January 2021

Deerfoot Trail Final Recommendation Report

The City of Calgary and Alberta Transportation are pleased to present the final recommendations of the Deerfoot Trail Study.

The Deerfoot Trail Study is a joint initiative between The City of Calgary and Alberta Transportation. The study area covers approximately 35 kilometres of highway, including 18 existing interchanges and one future interchange at 128 Avenue N.E.

In Phase 1 of the study we asked Calgarians and Deerfoot Trail users to identify and confirm challenges on Deerfoot Trail.

In Phase 2 we identified possible short-term solutions.

In Phase 3 we asked for feedback on the long-term preliminary Deerfoot Trail improvement concepts at seven interchange areas.

In Phase 4 we reviewed the long-term recommendations based on Multiple Account Evaluation (M.A.E.), looking at four main factors: financial, environmental, socio-community, and customer service, as well as public feedback.

We are now in Phase 5 which shares the outcomes of the study and presents the final long-term recommendations.

The study outcome is a long-term corridor plan for Deerfoot Trail that describes the recommended improvements to Deerfoot Trail to address current and future traffic needs. This is done by improving safety, mobility, and accessibility for all transportation modes through innovative traffic demand management techniques, targeted infrastructure improvements, and the expansion of various technology applications. The study and recommendations have now been passed to Alberta Transportation who will determine next steps and timelines as funding becomes available for improvements to Deerfoot Trail. 

Study overview

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 congestion, unreliability and safety concerns.

The principal role of the Deerfoot Trail within the City of Calgary is to provide an efficient, reliable, and safe connection for motor vehicle traffic and goods movement within, to, and from the City.

The purpose of Deerfoot Trail Study is to review and develop short, medium and long-term recommendations to enhance safety and mobility for all users and improve and optimize overall operations throughout the corridor and adjacent network.

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. It is not anticipated that the study or any resulting solutions will significantly affect these intersections.

The study will define and recommend a program of upgrades for Deerfoot Trail by:

  • Identifying the existing and future travel needs on the corridor, and any associated impacts on the surrounding communities.
  • Engaging the public, community groups and stakeholders to identify users and demands for the corridor, and build a range of potential solutions.
  • Recommending safety and mobility improvements for people who drive and take transit.
  • Improving air quality and reducing vehicular emissions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the time needed to travel to and within the corridor.

Facts about Deerfoot Trail

  • 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. 

Project timelines

Phase 1: Project initiation and definition

  • June 2016
    Collect data and public/stakeholder input to understand the issues that exist along and across Deerfoot Trail

Phase 2: Develop short-term concepts (less than 5 years)

  • September 2016
    Develop and refine short-term concepts for existing problems
  • November 2016
    Present to public and collect input to make refinements
  • May 2017
    Present final short-term recommendations to Council

Phase 3: Develop long-term concepts (30+ years)

  • June 2017
    Conduct technical review for the projected forecast and develop solution toolbox
  • February 2018
    Present toolbox to stakeholders and receive input
  • March 2018
    Identify improvement areas and conduct technical analysis
  • March 2019
    Present improvement area to stakeholders and receive input
  • April 2019
    Develop evaluation framework and long-term concepts
  • November 2019
    Present long-term concepts to public and receive input

Phase 4: Concept Selection

  • February – May 2020
    Concept review and evaluation

Phase 5: Final Recommendations

  • December 2020
    Share the outcomes of the study and presents the final long-term recommendations

Related links and documents

This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically. ​