FHWAs Office of Safety R and D

United States

FHWAs Office of Safety R and D

United States
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Zhang W.,FHWAs Office of Safety R and D | Bared J.,FHWA Office of Operations R and D | Jagannathan R.,Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc.
Public Roads | Year: 2012

An FHWA study offers recommendations for constructing mini-roundabouts to reduce congestion and improve safety at intersections throughout the US. One potential solution might be the mini-roundabout. Other countries have been designing and constructing mini-roundabouts since the 1970s, but very few of these intersections are found in the US. The intent of the FHWA study is to address these and other relevant questions objectively, assess the pros and cons of existing designs, and develop a set of guidelines that will achieve design objectives effectively. Among the general design objectives is ensuring that vehicles up to the size of a single-unit truck can circulate around the central island while at the same time providing a way for larger vehicles to traverse the central and splitter islands. Other goals include reducing the number of intersection conflict points, increasing intersection capacity, and improving safety for all modes of traffic.


Do A.H.,FHWAs TFHRC | Balk S.A.,FHWAs Office of Safety R and D | Shurbutt J.W.,Office of Safety R and D
Public Roads | Year: 2014

The ability to predict where pedestrians cross roadways has the potential to improve travel safety. That information can be used to better design roadways with pedestrians in mind and to inform the placement of crossing interventions. Crashes involving pedestrians hit by vehicles are all too common and too often deadly. In 2012, pedestrian deaths represented 14.1 percent of all the fatalities that occurred in roadway crashes. Moreover, of the pedestrian fatalities that year, nearly three-quarters occurred away from intersections, somewhere at unmarked midblock locations. Given the large proportion of pedestrian fatalities that take place away from intersections, investigating the causal factors of collisions at those unmarked locations is imperative. But in actuality, little research has been devoted to studying crossing behavior away from intersections. The study team also researched influences that hinder risky crossings. For instance, a concrete lane divider or flower plantings along sidewalks definitely reduce the likelihood that pedestrians will attempt to cross a roadway at an inappropriate location.


David Yang C.Y.,FHWAs Office of Safety R and D | Shurbutt J.,FHWAs Office of Safety R and D | Philips B.,FHWAs Office of Safety R and D
Public Roads | Year: 2013

The article describes how researchers at FHWA's Human Factors Laboratory are studying motorists' behaviors. The potential dividends are significant. In recent years, national attention toward the issue of driver distraction has increased among the transportation community, the media, and the public. Texting and cell phone use while driving, for example, are major safety concerns due to their role as contributing factors in a growing number of vehicle crashes. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of travelers can help engineers design roadways to minimize human errors and enhance the safety of the traveling public. Research on user characteristics can lead to improvements in roadway design, construction, and maintenance that will enable the transportation system to operate more efficiently and safely. One of the research tools employed at the Human Factors Laboratory is a driving simulator used for a variety of behavioral studies related to safety and operations conducted for FHWA and other stakeholders.


Romo A.,FHWAs Office of Safety R and D | Yang C.Y.D.,FHWAs Office of Safety R and D
Public Roads | Year: 2015

Researchers need to improve the selection of research tools to conduct studies, refine questions, collect relevant data, and find effective solutions to reduce driver errors and thus improve transportation safety. FHWA's Human Factors Team is working on identifying factors to evaluate a number of research methods and assist researchers in understanding the types of data needed for a given study. The FHWA study explored the following six major methods that researchers use to collect data and investigate questions linked to driver behavior and transportation safety, surveys, crash data, driving simulators, test tracks or instrumented roadways, field operational tests, and naturalistic driving studies. Understanding the differences among the methods enables researchers to enhance the value of each dataset in providing crucial information without ignoring the limitations of each. As the collection of behavior data becomes more sophisticated, researchers must employ proper methods to gather pertinent data about road users in order to implement effective transportation solutions.

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