Investigating the Effects of Roadway Design on Driver Behavior: Applications for Minnesota Highway Design


Peter Scallen, John Carmody

February 1999

Report no. MnDOT 1999-10

This report details a project to study the relationship between highway design and human behavior as influenced by roadside environments. In a visualization phase, computer simulation modeled an actual segment of urban highway planned for reconstruction in Tofte, MN Using a driving simulator, project design team members test drove the highway reconstruction project and evaluated the planned elements. In an experimentation phase, researchers tested drivers' responses to different design scenarios to identify the architectural and aesthetic elements with the greatest potential for calming or slowing traffic. Results indicated that the visualization phase increased communication among project team members and state agencies, facilitated problem Identification-resolution strategy development, and contributed to decision-making concerning potential design options and design elements. Data also indicated that white pavement treatments produced desirable traffic calming effects. Analyses of drivers' speed patterns indicated a consistent speed profile, characterized by both decreases and increases in speed. The report concludes with recommendations for the expanded use of visualization in general and the implementation of white pavement treatments in the target reconstruction project specifically. It also recommends further consideration of landscape architecture treatments.

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