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    Roundabouts and Blind Pedestrians

    New Bulletin Issued on Traffic Roundabouts

    A growing trend in roadway design favors continuous-flow roundabouts over traditional signalized intersections. While their design varies widely, roundabouts typically feature a circulatory roadway around a central island. Entering traffic yields to vehicles already in the circle. Increasingly popular in the U.S. because they add vehicle capacity and reduce delay, roundabouts are a common feature in Europe and Australia. Studies suggest a lower incidence of serious vehicle crashes, but researchers have not considered the safety of pedestrians, particularly those who have vision impairments.

    Because crossing at a roundabout requires a pedestrian to visually select a safe gap between cars that may not stop, accessibility for people with vision impairments has been problematic. A new bulletin issued by the Board provides guidance on access to roundabouts for pedestrians with visual impairments. This guidance is based on research sponsored in part by the Board at the Department of Blind Rehabilitation at Western Michigan University. The research assessed access issues in-depth and provided recommendations for design improvements that benefit people with vision impairments. These recommendations address the location of crosswalks, roadway design, use of traffic signals, provision of detectable warnings, and other topics. The Board will use this information in developing proposed guidelines on accessible public rights-of-way.

    See photos here. See the full report at http://www.access-board.gov/news/roundabouts-bulletin.htm




    Electronic Toolbox for Blind Accessability

    The Traffic Engineering Council Accessible Intersection Committee has created an "Electronic Toolbox for Making Intersections More Accessible for Pedestrians Who are Blind or Visually Impaired." The site is located at http://www.ite.org/library/accessibleint.htm


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    Kansas State University
    April 19, 2002