There are two main routes to get from the Calgary International Airport to Banff: the Trans-Canada Highway (also called Hwy 1, 16th Ave N within Calgary) and Stoney Trail (Hwy 201). 

Highway 1 is the best route to take if you are planning to stop somewhere in Calgary for a meal, supplies, or accommodations away from the airport. That's because it is slow-moving (mostly 50km/h or 30 mph), has many stoplights, and many businesses are easily visible from the road while driving - grocery stores, fast food, restaurants, shopping malls, and motels.

Google Map showing how to get from the airport to the west side of the city using 16th Ave N.:

However, Stoney Trail (Hwy 201) freeway is a much faster route than 16th Ave N, and it is the route that most locals take when travelling between the airport and northwest Calgary or Banff. The speed limit along much of Stoney Trail is 100 km/h (60 mph). However, when you're on Stoney Trail, all you can really see is Stoney Trail. Most businesses are set back well out of sight. And currently (November 2013) there are no tourist information signs on Stoney Trail telling you which exits to take to get to food, fuel, shopping, etc. So if you do want to make a stop before leaving Calgary, you either need to plan it out in advance (there are places close to Stoney Trail that do have food, fuel, etc., they're just not signed) or take 16th Ave N.

Google Map showing how to get to Banff using Stoney Trail:

Travellers who lived in Calgary or visited in the 1980's and 1990's may recall that Country Hills Blvd used to be a quick route that people took to avoid 16th Ave. Now, it has a lot more traffic, and Stoney Trail is much faster.

In Canada, the road construction and maintenance season is very short: from late May to early November. So a certain amount of road work is inevitable in the summer months. And both routes have major construction projects on them during Summer 2014.

Note that many construction zone speed limits are in effect 24 hours, not just when workers and equipment are active. That's because changes to the road made as a result of construction (rerouting, bumps, narrow lanes, etc.) can mean that a lower speed limit is necessary for safety. Even if the road is currently in a fairly normal and safe configuration, that may change on a day-by-day basis as construction continues, so regular commuters along that route need to expect to drive a slower speed every day.

The last remaining traffic light on Stoney Trail was removed in 2012. However, construction of an interchange between Stoney Trail and Nose Hill Drive will be underway during Summer 2014. So expect lanes to be moved or rerouted and the usual construction hassles.

Expect police to be watching for speeders in construction zones, using marked police cars, unmarked "ghost cars", and photo radar. There is frequently a police presence on the final stretch of 16th Ave N between Canada Olympic Park (with the ski jump towers) and the western city limits. Since the Stoney Trail route ends with you driving this section of 16th Ave, travellers choosing both Stoney Trail and the Trans-Canada Hwy should take note. The speed limit on westbound 16th Avenue N west of Canada Olympic Park is 80 km/h (50 mph), not 90 km/h. However, lots of vehicles go 90 km/h or more in this area, especially on the weekends. There is photo radar on that stretch (both westbound and eastbound into the city) on a very, very regular basis. Note that between the Calgary city limit and Canada Olympic Park, the eastbound speed limit is slightly higher, at 90 km/h. However, it drops to 80 just before the Canada Olympic Park intersection.

Calgary Police Service (CPS) doesn't mind the locations of speed enforcement activities being publicized. As police spokespeople have stated to the media on many occasions, their goal is to get people to slow down, and publicity helps them to achieve that goal. In fact, Calgary police publicize many enforcement locations on the CPS website.

Finally, Hwy 1A is a slower, more scenic way to get to Banff but avoid it on a Friday afternoon, Sunday afternoon, or after dark. It is a narrow, winding 2-lane road with narrow shoulders and a lower speed limit. At the beginning and end of the weekend, aggressive drivers may see it as a quicker alternative to the Hwy 1. Also, watch for pedestrians on or near Hwy 1A once you enter the Stoney Nakoda First Nation; there are signs along the roadway to remind you about this.

Hwy 1A  between Calgary and the town of Cochrane is a busy commuter route, so it is a good idea to avoid it during the afternoon rush hour on weekdays. 

Google Map showing how to get to Banff using Hwy 1A: