Roundabout Design and Elderly Drivers

Research on modern roundabouts has been conducted by the Principal Investigator (PI) since the mid 1970s. That is when the first "smaller circular intersections" started to be designed in Sweden. This research has continued at the University of Maine (UMaine) where the PI was one of the principal investigators in an often-referenced safety study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Other studies at UMaine have looked at safety, capacity and delay as well as attitudes towards roundabouts among drivers and residents living nearby. There is an indication that elderly drivers are less 'happy' with roundabouts than other age groups even though the elderly potentially have the most to gain--if the design is appropriate for their needs. However, elderly drivers' attitudes and behaviors have not been studied in detail so there is little knowledge of what an appropriate design should look like. However, with changes in demography, it is obvious that we need to be more sensitive to the needs of elderly drivers. Also, the influence of roundabout design on energy consumption and environmental effects, such as CO2-emis¬sions--some¬thing that is becoming more and more important in choice of design--have not been studied extensively. The purpose of this research project is therefore to evaluate how elderly drivers (compared to drivers of other age groups) adapt to driving through different styles of modern roundabouts--with respect to safety, capacity, fuel consumption, noise and acceptance. Safety will be studied through analysis of crash data as well as indirectly in several ways: through gap-acceptance studies, traffic-conflict studies, and interviews with drivers about critical events. Acceptance of roundabouts will simultaneously be studied through surveys. Delay will be studied through field observations of travel times and capacity will be estimated through studies of gap acceptance where driver age is assessed in the field. Fuel consumption will be measured by having drivers drive fuel-gauge-equipped vehicles multiple times along loops through different types of intersections, including roundabouts with different designs. The end result will be recommended design characteristics of modern roundabouts to accommodate elderly drivers.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $94269.00
    • Contract Numbers:



    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Research and Innovative Technology Administration

      Department of Transportation
      1200 New Jersey Avneue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Maine, Orono

      Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
      5717 Corbett Hall
      Orono, ME  United States  04469-5711
    • Principal Investigators:

      Garder, Per

    • Start Date: 20090401
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20110831
    • Source Data: RiP Project 24549

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01480764
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: New England University Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT07-G-0001, UMER21-10
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: May 7 2013 1:01AM