Investigation of Pedestrian/Bicyclist Risk in Minnesota Roundabout Crossings
Many cities in the United States are installing roundabouts instead of traditional intersections, due to evidence that roundabouts dramatically reduce fatal and severe injury crashes compared to traditional signalized intersections. However, the impact on pedestrian safety is not clear. This project was developed to investigate pedestrian accessibility in Minnesota urban roundabouts, addressing complaints from pedestrians regarding difficulties in crossing and safety. The methodology followed in this ongoing research is typical of other observational studies. A sufficiently large number of observations on the interactions between pedestrians or bicycles (peds/bikes) and vehicles at two modern urban roundabouts in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota were collected and reduced. These observations have supported a two phased analysis. Phase 1 involved the extraction of general information describing the crossing event, such as who yielded, the location of the crossing, or the number of subjects involved. Phase 2 looked deeper into these factors by considering the conditions inside the roundabout before the vehicle proceeds to the crossing and meets with the ped/bike. The results presented, although containing no surprises, do highlight and categorize the existence of friction between pedestrians and drivers at roundabout crossings. Also the identification of factors affecting driver yield behavior and pedestrian wait time do offer good background for modeling such interactions.