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The Application of Roundabouts to Improve the Safety Performance on Alberta Rural Highways


The application of roundabouts has been reported to show an improved safety performance of intersections in various countries around the world. What is relatively unknown is whether or not roundabouts will provide a similar benefit considering a rural Alberta context. This paper attempts to address the suitability of installing roundabouts in a rural location with respect to improving the overall safety performance. The road authority for Alberta’s provincial highway system, Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation (AIT), has identified locations where safety performance issues exist that require addressing. As part of the drive to enhance safety throughout the highway system, EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd. (EBA) has identified improvement options on a site-specific basis to address safety performance issues. One of the improvement options identified at certain intersections has been the possibility of installing a roundabout as opposed to maintaining more traditional intersection types. These intersections tend to be similar in terms of their safety performance but generally differ in the existing traffic control. It is anticipated that as the benefits of roundabouts in terms of an improved safety performance are more fully recognized, the popularity of roundabouts in a rural location will increase. The first rural roundabout in Alberta is to be built at the intersection of two provincial highways, Highway 8 and Highway 22, west of the City of Calgary. The first stage of construction has been scheduled to commence in 2007. This paper considers whether or not roundabouts are a suitable improvement option as well as identifying and discussing some of the design and operational considerations given an Alberta context. These considerations include: • The appropriate design vehicle. • The type of collisions mitigated. • The traffic volumes accommodated. • Approach and circumnavigating speeds. • Public education. • Divided/undivided highways.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Steel, P.H.A
McGregor, R.V
Damberger, M