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 (see the Short Term Improvements tab above).

In Phase 3 we asked for feedback on the long-term preliminary Deerfoot Trail improvement concepts at seven interchange areas, (download the Phase 3 “What We Heard” Report for more information).

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 though 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.


We heard from the public in a variety of ways, including in-person at open houses, stakeholder meetings, and via our online engagement page. The Deerfoot project team is currently reviewing and evaluating all of the feedback as they work to finalize recommendations for the study. For more information and to review the themes that we heard from the public and stakeholders feedback, we invite you to review the Deerfoot Trail Phase 3 engagement What We Heard Report.


During Phase 2 of the study, the project team developed numerous potential short-term improvement options. In late 2016, the project team held two stakeholder workshops to review short-term improvement options.

For more details on some of short-term options considered, please see the Short-term Options Stakeholder Workshop What We Heard report.

The five recommendations that best met the criteria identified for short-term improvements include:

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.


The City of Calgary (The City) and Alberta Transportation (AT) are working together to study Deerfoot Trail, between the Stoney Trail interchanges* in the north and south.

The study will consider a range of possible freeway management strategies, including some new to Calgary, and recommend ways to improve safety and mobility in the short- and long-term. The focus will be on making the most of the existing infrastructure, planning for future growth and aligning with the Calgary Transportation Plan.

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.

*Please note the Stoney Trail interchanges are included only as the limits of the study. The study recommendations are not anticipated to include significant changes to these interchanges.


Facts about Deerfoot Trail

  • Deerfoot Trail is a core route in the National Highway System, managed by Alberta Transportation since 2001.
  • In Calgary, Deerfoot Trail is part of the Primary Goods Movement Network, and is classified as a skeletal road in the Calgary Transportation Plan (CTP). 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 continuous north-south connection across the city, and the only north-south skeletal road serving central and east Calgary.

Who manages Deerfoot Trail?

  • Alberta Transportation assumed responsibility for Deerfoot Trail in 2001 because of its role in the National Highway Network. There is a possibility The City of Calgary will resume responsibility for Deerfoot Trail once the Calgary ring road is complete. This study needs to be completed regardless of who owns the road.

We heard from the public in a variety of ways, including in-person at open houses, a pop-up event and stakeholder meetings, and our online survey and mapping tool. In total, we received 3364 comments on the map and heard from 8140 people through our questionnaire. Our project team has thoroughly reviewed and evaluated all of the feedback from the questionnaire and developed a detailed What We Heard Report. Included in the What We Heard Report are comments received from the public on an online map. The online map comments have been included in an Online Mapping Tool Report which includes all the verbatim comments and a review by intersection. The review by intersection is also available in a condensed report.

What We Heard Summary:

  • Most respondents travel Deerfoot Trail daily, in a vehicle by themselves, between 3 and 7 p.m. to commute to and from work.
  • Most drivers experience delays along the study area most of the time.
  • Those who don’t use Deerfoot Trail said it was because they don’t feel safe on the road.
  • The route most travelled by respondents is from Stoney Trail South to Glenmore Trail, while the most congested segment was reported as McKenzie Lake Boulevard to Glenmore Trail.
  • Respondents were most satisfied with signage and traveler information while they are least satisfied with duration of travel times and reliability.
  • Efforts to clear collisions and stalls is the most important factor for most respondents while the least important factor is visual appeal / appearance.
  • Most respondents indicated they would prefer between 17 Avenue S.E. and Anderson Road to be improved first.
  • Lane reduction issues, poorly designed on and off ramps, poorly designed interchanges and congestion were the top issues noted by respondents corridor-wide.


Download the Deerfoot Trail FAQ's.

The City and Alberta Transportation partnered on a study for Deerfoot Trail from Stoney Trail North to Stoney Trail South. The purpose of the Deerfoot Trail Study was 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. We are pleased to present the final long-term (30 years) recommendations of the Study.

About the study & final recommendations

What happens now?

  • The purpose of this engineering study was to identify upgrades and right-of-way requirements to support future decision-making. It provides technical recommendations to determine how Deerfoot Trail could operate 30 years into the future, what it could look like as well as its role and function within Calgary’s and Alberta’s Transportation Network.
  • The recommended plan of upgrades will assist Alberta Transportation in future discussions and decisions and any right-of-way requirements to inform decision-making.

What is the long-term recommendation?

  • The preferred long term plans recommend High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes or carpool lanes from Barlow Trail to Airport Trail, and significant configuration improvements at many interchanges and key areas.
  • Specific areas to be improved include interchanges at 128 Avenue NE, Country Hills Boulevard, Airport Trail, Beddington Trail, McKnight Boulevard, 32 Avenue NE, 16 Avenue NE, Memorial Drive and 17 Avenue SE area, Peigan Trail, 50 Avenue SE connector, Glenmore Trail, and Anderson Road/Bow Bottom Trail Area.
  • From 128 Ave NE Interchange to McKenzie Towne Boulevard Interchange: Pedestrians and cyclists' crossings Deerfoot Trail will be improved at each interchange either by providing a new multi-use pathway (MUP) connection or by upgrading the existing facilities to new MUP.
  • The preferred long-term plan has the least property impacts and the least environmental impacts when compared to other corridor improvement alternatives.

Why was the study required?

  • The principal role of the Deerfoot Trail within Calgary is to provide an efficient, reliable, and safe connection for motor vehicle traffic and goods movement within, to, and from the city
  • A traffic operations model, combined with the substantial public input gathered in 2016, identified two main problems: not enough capacity and a lack of east-west connectivity across Deerfoot Trail. We recognized the need to identify improvements to better serve Calgarians.


How much would the recommendations cost?

  • The estimated cost for all recommended improvements over 30 years is $2.25 billion dollars.

How much did this study cost?

  • The joint City/Alberta Transportation Deerfoot Trail Planning Study was budgeted at approximately $4 million dollars, provided by Alberta Transportation

Public Engagement and Stakeholder Impacts

How did public input play a role in developing and selecting these options?

  • There were various public engagement opportunities throughout the course of the Study.
  • There have been several studies on Deerfoot Trail over the past 10 years that identified improvements in specific locations.
  • Public input on areas where people experience challenges, along with data from previous studies on Deerfoot Trail and data collected in May of 2016 was used to help determine the areas of focus for the potential short-term and long-term options. The public feedback aligned with the information we gathered in our studies, and that has been used to develop the long-term recommendations.

Q&A – Other

Do these recommendations include any analysis related to COVID-19?

  • There was no analysis conducted specifically to assess the impacts associated with COVID-19. However, initial traffic volume data suggests that daily traffic is approaching near normal levels, but there may be a reduction in demand during the peak periods as less congestion and related travel times have been observed.


Deerfoot Trail is part of the provincial highway network and is therefore under the care and control of the Government of Alberta (Alberta Transportation).

The Deerfoot Trail Study was undertaken by The City of Calgary with significant input by Alberta Transportation in recognition of this broader context. Future improvements to the corridor would be led by the Government of Alberta as funding becomes available.