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Using microsimulation to evaluate safety and operational implications of newer roundabout layouts for European road networks

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journal contribution
posted on 24.05.2021, 20:24 by Tullio Giuffrè, Salvatore Trubia, Antonino Canale, Bhagwant Persaud Persaud
“Standard” roundabouts, for example those designed in some European countries, can often be characterized by low levels of safety or capacity and a high degree of sustainability. Given the proliferation of newer layouts, it is of interest to explore whether design practices could be improved by capitalizing on the experience gained internationally. Operational aspects of some of these designs have been explored previously, but there is a need to compare both the operational and safety performance of new designs to that of standard roundabouts. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the safety and operational implications of various potential alternatives to the standard roundabouts that proliferate in Europe and elsewhere. Microsimulation is used to simulate traffic operations at roundabout layout alternatives at the same levels of volume to capacity (V/C) ratio and also with the same traffic flow. Operational performance measures include the common level of service parameters, while measures of safety are based initially on time to collision (TTC) values. Threshold values of TTC were then applied in defining conflicts that are used for crash-based safety evaluation by applying crash-conflict models estimated in published research. Interesting insights were revealed, suggesting that the newer layouts should be considered where warranted by cost-benefit considerations. Keywords: road safety; traffic simulation; roundabout design; sustainable-transport indicators