Improving roundabouts for cyclists and visually impaired
Abstract: Roundabouts are continuing to increase due to their high traffic safety, low delay times and their winning design. However, there are also problems related to roundabouts; the traffic safety for cyclists is unclear or even negative and there are reports of accessibility problems for people with visual impairment. The overall objective of this project is to identify designs that improve the situation for these two groups of road users in roundabouts. This implies that acquiring a profound understanding of the current problems and state of knowledge is a prerequisite. Cyclist behaviour, interactions with motorists and the resulting safety were studied in two roundabouts, one with separated cycle crossings and one without cycle facilities. Low vision and blind people were interviewed in focus group interviews and a questionnaire survey to find out in what way roundabouts differ from other intersection types and to investigate whether there are design solutions to make roundabouts more accessible. The results show that signalised intersections are more accessible than roundabouts. Despite this, they are not perceived as safer. Moreover, no difference in accessibility is found between roundabouts and four-way intersections without signalisation. Roundabouts with separate cycle crossings seem to be safer than those without cycle facility. Roundabouts without a cycle facility are more complex in that they have more conflict points and more interaction types between cyclists and motorists. The implications of the results for the other road user group (cyclists/visually impaired) are also discussed.
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