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Enhancing Pedestrian Experiences at Roundabouts

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  02/07/2023


Traffic roundabouts, where two or more roads intersect and vehicles travel around a central island, are safer and more efficient than traditional intersections. The safety records of most roundabouts in Minnesota are excellent. Pedestrians also benefit from slower vehicle speeds and shorter wait times to cross. Public concerns about roundabout safety linger, however, particularly when new roundabouts are being planned and designed. Concerns are related to confusion over appropriate vehicle–pedestrian sequences, visibility of the entire intersection and safety in general. A study sponsored by the Local Road Research Board has resulted in guidance for local agencies to enhance the pedestrian experience at roundabouts. Surveying city and county traffic engineers, researchers identified 15 roundabouts across the state with known pedestrian complaints. They analyzed the crossing safety features and configurations, such as how many roads intersect and how many lanes dissect the roundabouts. After careful review of two days of video footage from the pedestrian crossings at eight test sites, investigators identified the roundabout characteristics that correspond with the highest rates of drivers yielding to pedestrians. A guidance document containing roundabout design elements aimed at enhancing the pedestrian experience is now available to local agencies across the state.

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