Investigation of Pedestrian/Bicyclist Risk in Minnesota Roundabout Crossings

Principal Investigator(s):

John Hourdos, Former Research Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering


  • Gary Davis, Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

Many cities in the United States are installing roundabouts instead of traditional intersections because of evidence that roundabouts dramatically reduce fatal and severe-injury crashes compared to traditional signalized intersections. However, the impact on pedestrian safety is unclear. This project investigated 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, Minnesota, were collected and reduced. These observations 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 proceeded to the crossing and met with the ped/bike. The results, although not surprising, do highlight and categorize the existence of friction between pedestrians and drivers at roundabout crossings. In addition, the identification of factors affecting driver yield behavior and pedestrian wait time offer good background for modeling such interactions.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2010099
  • Start date: 06/2010
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Bicycling, Pedestrian, Safety