Road user behaviour changes following a self-explaining roads intervention

The self-explaining roads (SER) approach uses road designs that evoke correct expectations and driving behaviours from road users to create a safe and user-friendly road network. Following the implementation of an SER process and retrofitting of local and collector roads in a suburb within Auckland City, lower speeds on local roads and less variation in speed on both local and collector roads were achieved, along with a closer match between actual and perceived safe speeds. Preliminary analyses of crash data shows that the project has resulted in a 30% reduction crash numbers and an 86% reduction in crash costs per annum, since the road changes were completed. In order to further understand the outcomes from this project, a study was carried out to measure the effects of the SER intervention on the activity and behaviour of all road users. Video was collected over nine separate days, at nine different locations, both before and after SER construction. Road user behaviour categories were developed for all potential road users at different location types and then used to code the video data. Following SER construction, on local roads there was a relatively higher proportion of pedestrians, less uniformity in vehicle lane keeping and less indicating by motorists along with less through traffic, reflecting a more informal/low speed local road environment. Pedestrians were less constrained on local roads following SER construction, possibly reflecting a perceptually safer and more user-friendly environment. These behaviours were not generally evident on collector roads, a trend also shown by the previous study of speed changes. Given that one of the objectives of SER is to match road user behaviour with functionally different road categories, the road user behaviour differences demonstrated on different road types within the SER trial area provides further reinforcement of a successful SER trial.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Mackie, H. W., Charlton, S. G., Baas, P. H., & Villasenor, P. C. (2013). Road user behaviour changes following a self-explaining roads intervention. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 50, 742-750.