Pedestrian Activated Signals at Roundabouts with Multi-Lane Pedestrian Street Crossings

A roundabout is a circular intersection with yield control at entry, which permits a vehicle on the circulatory roadway to proceed, and with deflection of the approaching vehicle counter-clockwise around a central island (MUTCD section 1A.13). The continuous traffic flow at roundabouts removes many of the audible cues that pedestrians who are blind use to navigate pedestrian street crossings. At new roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings, the proposed guidelines require pedestrian activated signals to be provided for each multi-lane segment of each crossing, including the splitter island (see R206 and R306.3.2). The pedestrian activated signals are required to comply with the MUTCD standards for accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons.

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons can be used at roundabouts (see MUTCD sections 4F.01 through 4F.03). Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons are traffic signals that consist of a yellow signal centered below two horizontally aligned red signals. The signals are normally dark (i.e., not illuminated). The signals are initiated only upon pedestrian activation and can be timed to minimize the interruption of traffic. The signals cease operation after the pedestrian clears the crosswalk. When activated by a pedestrian, the following signals are displayed to drivers: a flashing yellow signal, then a steady yellow signal, then two steady red signals during the pedestrian walk interval, and then alternating flashing red signals during the pedestrian clearance interval. The following signals are displayed to pedestrians: a steady upraised hand (symbolizing DONT WALK) when the flashing or steady yellow signal is operating, then a walking person (symbolizing WALK) when the steady red signals are operating, and then a flashing upraised hand (symbolizing DONT WALK) when the alternating flashing red signals are operating.

Governmental Units Affected

The requirement for pedestrian activated signals at roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings will affect state and local transportation departments that construct new roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings. The Volpe Center estimated that state and local transportation departments construct 27 new roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings on an annual basis.38

Costs to Provide Pedestrian Activated Signals at Roundabouts with Multi-Lane Pedestrian Street Crossings

The Volpe Center estimated the cost to provide pedestrian activated signals at new roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings to range from $90,000 to $230,000 per roundabout, and the total annual costs for requiring pedestrian activated signals at new roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings to range from $2.4 million to $6.2 million. Questions 18 and 19 in the preamble to the proposed guidelines seek additional information on the number of roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings that are newly constructed on an annual basis by state and local transportation departments, and the costs to provide pedestrian activated signals at newly constructed roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings.