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Towards new principles of road categorization: reflections based on practices in Belgium and Eastern Europe

Dirk Lauwers (UGent) and Dominique Gillis (UGent)
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Abstract
One of the major instruments in road infrastructure planning is the functional categorization of the road network. In the Flanders region in Belgium, with one of the densest road networks in Europe, the principles of a new functional road categorization were introduced in 1997 within the Spatial Structure Plan for Flanders. This functional classification relates to clear spatial qualities: accessibility on the one hand and liveability of streets and areas on the other hand. After more than a decade of implementation of this categorization also new criteria are discussed: traffic safety, urban design, robustness of the network, comodality, freight routes and others. Within the frame of the revision of the Spatial Structure Plan for Flanders more ‘dynamic’ and ‘multilevel’ approaches of the categorization system are being proposed by researchers. Traffic management systems (ITS) allow a more intelligent and adaptive structuring of the traffic infrastructure network. The focus of the paper is to reflect on how these new tendencies can affect network layout and road design, based on practices in Belgium and to confront it with cases in Bulgaria and Romania. Secondly specific attention is paid in this paper to the application of traffic modelling within the categorization practice. The most important application is that traffic models allow to translate the road categorization into estimated traffic flows. On the other side, traffic models can be used to estimate which type of measures are needed in order to bring the actual use of the road network in correspondence with the desired use: which levels of speed limitation or road capacity restrictions are needed to make the route choice behaviour of drivers in line with the planned network structure.
Keywords
road networks, road categorization, traffic modeling, spatial planning, road design

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Chicago
Lauwers, Dirk, and Dominique Gillis. 2010. “Towards New Principles of Road Categorization: Reflections Based on Practices in Belgium and Eastern Europe.” In Proceedings of CETRA 2010, 1–8. Opatija, Croatia: CETRA.
APA
Lauwers, Dirk, & Gillis, D. (2010). Towards new principles of road categorization: reflections based on practices in Belgium and Eastern Europe. Proceedings of CETRA 2010 (pp. 1–8). Presented at the First International Conference on Road and Rail Infrastructure, Opatija, Croatia: CETRA.
Vancouver
1.
Lauwers D, Gillis D. Towards new principles of road categorization: reflections based on practices in Belgium and Eastern Europe. Proceedings of CETRA 2010. Opatija, Croatia: CETRA; 2010. p. 1–8.
MLA
Lauwers, Dirk, and Dominique Gillis. “Towards New Principles of Road Categorization: Reflections Based on Practices in Belgium and Eastern Europe.” Proceedings of CETRA 2010. Opatija, Croatia: CETRA, 2010. 1–8. Print.
@inproceedings{1221269,
  abstract     = {One of the major instruments in road infrastructure planning is the functional categorization of the road network. In the Flanders region in Belgium, with one of the densest road networks in Europe, the principles of a new functional road categorization were introduced in 1997 within the Spatial Structure Plan for Flanders. This functional classification relates to clear spatial qualities: accessibility on the one hand and liveability of streets and areas on the other hand. After more than a decade of implementation of this categorization also new criteria are discussed: traffic safety, urban design, robustness of the network, comodality, freight routes and others. Within the frame of the revision of the Spatial Structure Plan for Flanders more {\textquoteleft}dynamic{\textquoteright} and {\textquoteleft}multilevel{\textquoteright} approaches of the categorization system are being proposed by researchers. Traffic management systems (ITS) allow a more intelligent and adaptive structuring of the traffic infrastructure network. The focus of the paper is to reflect on how these new tendencies can affect network layout and road design, based on practices in Belgium and to confront it with cases in Bulgaria and Romania. Secondly specific attention is paid in this paper to the application of traffic modelling within the categorization practice. The most important application is that traffic models allow to translate the road categorization into estimated traffic flows. On the other side, traffic models can be used to estimate which type of measures are needed in order to bring the actual use of the road network in correspondence with the desired use: which levels of speed limitation or road capacity restrictions are needed to make the route choice behaviour of drivers in line with the planned network structure.},
  author       = {Lauwers, Dirk and Gillis, Dominique},
  booktitle    = {Proceedings of CETRA 2010},
  keyword      = {road networks,road categorization,traffic modeling,spatial planning,road design},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Opatija, Croatia},
  pages        = {1--8},
  publisher    = {CETRA},
  title        = {Towards new principles of road categorization: reflections based on practices in Belgium and Eastern Europe},
  year         = {2010},
}