Supervisor – Professor Mark Hickman
There are many environments where pedestrians and vehicles may share road space. In this project, we are examining the factors that influence both pedestrian and driver behaviour in these shared spaces. Over the past 15 years, there has been growing research into pedestrian and driver behaviour within these spaces, but the results of different management strategies seems to be dependent on the local context. Moreover, many studies have missed the collection and use of data that would seem to be important in evaluating the safety and effectiveness of different traffic management strategies for shared spaces.
This project, supported by Brisbane City Council through the Transport Innovation and Research Hub (TIRH), is exploring the safety and effectiveness of different strategies in managing shared space. Three specific areas of interest include Local Area Traffic Management (LATM), or local neighbourhood traffic calming; pedestrian crossing treatments along higher-volume two-lane neighbourhood, district, and suburban roadways; and pedestrian crossing treatments at "slip" lanes at signalised intersections, where left-turning traffic may only need give way before making a left turn. Considerations in these cases could include the vehicle operating speed, pedestrian speed, road user visibility, road geometry, and vehicle and pedestrian volumes.
This research will explore mixed methods to evaluate strategies for managing these shared spaces, in terms of physical treatments, signs, markings, and related traffic management devices. Field observation amongst a range of facilities in Brisbane has begun and will continue through this project. These data will need to be analysed, and formal conclusions should be drawn across a wide range of cases across the Brisbane City Council area. To supplement these field observations, we also propose driving and pedestrian simulator experiments. The University has recently invested in two STISIM driving simulators which can be configured to test driver response to various shared space environments. The University also has developed a new Virtual Reality environment to test pedestrian reactions to vehicle and driver behaviours at a zebra crossing in Brisbane. Both the driving simulation and VR environment can be employed as part of this research.
A working knowledge of traffic engineering fundamentals, observational traffic studies, traffic simulation and virtual reality would be of benefit to someone working on this project.