RICWS Evaluation and Design Investigation
Nichole Morris, Research Associate, Mechanical Engineering
The Rural Intersection Collision Warning System (RICWS) has been deployed across the state of Minnesota to aid motorist to safely cross thru-STOP intersections. These types of intersections are susceptible to serious types of crashes and a past evaluation has found 55 percent of rural thru-STOP intersections in Minnesota have had at least one crash. The most prevalent and severe of the crash types observed at these intersections are right-angle crashes.
To date, approximately 50 RICWS signs have been implemented in Minnesota to promote safe travel on these intersections. However, a number of complaints have been received from local motorists with regard to the signs. It is important to examine the design of the warning system sign, how the messages are interpreted by motorists, and determine ways in which it may be misinterpreted. Clear communication of oncoming traffic to motorists crossing or turning onto rural thru-STOP intersections is integral to reducing serious injury and fatal crashes.
The objectives of this project are:
- to conduct a human factors analysis of the sign and identify what features or layouts may be problematic for proper and easy interpretation of its message.
- examine multiple alternative designs through usability studies to identify candidate signing options.
- test candidate sign options in the driving simulator to ensure proper interpretation of the sign message and safe gap acceptance for passing through the intersection.
Study results will be used to recommend potential modifications or overall redesign of the RICWS to assist drivers at rural intersections.