Project 1

Impacts of CAV-ready infrastructure on Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs): Guidance for North Carolina’s Local and State Transportation Agencies

Focus: Guidance for implementation of CAV infrastructure with a focus on safe interactions with VRUs

Co-PIs: Dr. Tabitha Combs, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Dr. Elizabeth Shay, Appalachian State University

Project Description: Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs) offer potential gains in safety, efficiency, and mobility, but also raise policy-relevant questions of impacts on vulnerable road users (VRUs) such as pedestrians and cyclists. Local and state governments will be challenged with providing transportation infrastructure that supports and maximizes the safety and efficiency potential of CAVs, yet also enhances travel conditions for VRUs. As yet, however, there is little empirically based guidance on the likely impacts of CAV-adapted infrastructure on VRU safety or mobility.

This research addresses this gap by identifying CAV-readiness strategies targeting intersection design and empirically evaluating their likely impacts on safety, mobility, and accessibility for North Carolina residents.

This mixed-methods research will identify, catalog, visualize, and evaluate CAV-readiness strategies with implications for the physical design and operation of intersections. Findings from the analysis will be used to identify the most promising sorts of intervention from the VRU safety and mobility perspective across a variety of contexts.

Research Impact: This project will guide NCDOT in identifying CAV-readiness strategies to promote safety and mobility across modes, advance best practices in public participation in the design and deployment of safety countermeasures, and position NCDOT as an international leader in multimodal, future-adapted infrastructure innovation.

Findings from this research will be disseminated via final report, peer-reviewed journal articles, and conference presentations. The project will culminate in a decision guide for local and state policy makers that describes the VRU implications of the most likely forms of infrastructure adaptation.