Investigation of Driving Behavior at Alternative Intersection Designs and Safety Improvement: A Driver Simulator Study
Intersections have been of major interest to traffic engineers because there are many conflicts between road users, and it poses a great exposure to safety risk and traffic congestion. Recently, several types of alternative intersection designs have been suggested and implemented in some states to alleviate the traffic safety and congestion problems. Many studies have shown that alternative intersections have improved efficiency but the effects on safety are still controversial. Most of the alternative intersection designs reduce the number of conflict points, and theoretically they could improve traffic safety. Nevertheless, the alternative intersections require different vehicle maneuvers. Such different and unexpected driving maneuvers might confuse drivers, especially those who are not familiar with the new design and elderly drivers. In the recent study, it was shown that non-motorized road users (i.e., pedestrians and bicyclists) are particularly exposed to severe crashes at the alternative intersections. Therefore, there is a need to explore driving behavior at such alternative intersections and provide effective solutions to minimize the confusion and improve traffic safety. The safety effects of warning messages through connected vehicle technologies (e.g., V2I) at the alternative intersections could be evaluated as well. The team will focus on median U-Turn intersections (or Michigan left-turn intersections) and continuous Green T-intersections (or seagull intersections).