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Accid Anal Prev. 2010 Nov;42(6):1585-94. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2010.03.017. Epub 2010 Apr 15.

Traffic calming along rural highways crossing small urban communities: driving simulator experiment.

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Department of Transportation Engineering Luigi Tocchetti, University of Naples Federico II, Italy.


The paper investigated drivers' speed behaviour in a section of a rural highway crossing a small urban community in the existing scenario without any traffic calming device and in two different design scenarios with traffic calming in the urban community. Two gateways and four integrative traffic calming devices along the route within the urban area were tested. The gateways were aimed at slowing down the vehicles entering in the built-up area, while the traffic calming devices were aimed at complementing the gateway effect inside the built-up area. Two design options were tested: first option (alt1) is a combination of low cost measures, whereas the second option (alt2) is more expensive as includes a chicane and requires land acquisition. Drivers' behaviour was investigated by means of a driving simulator experiment. The VERA dynamic-driving simulator operating at the TEST Road Safety Laboratory located in Naples (Italy) was used. Simulation results were validated by the comparison of speed behaviour in the real world and in the driving simulator, in the scenario without traffic calming. Analysis of the driving simulator experiment results was performed using two different approaches: (a) explorative description of data by cluster analysis; (b) inferential procedures about population using statistical tests. Cluster analysis was carried out in order to test if the drivers' speed behaviour in the different design alternatives was substantially different. Statistical tests were performed in order to verify if speeds in specific sections were significantly different. Cluster analysis looked at speed profiles, whereas statistical tests looked at speed data in specific points. The obtained results showed a different behaviour of drivers approaching the urban community in the existing scenario and in the design scenarios. In the south direction, mean speed reduction ranging between 16 and 17 km/h, with 5% level of significance, was observed. In the north direction, mean speed reduction equal to 11 km/h, with 10% level of significance, was observed. Differences between the two design alternatives were not statistically significant. Along the urban community, a statistically significant mean speed reduction ranging between 9 and 15 km/h was observed in the south direction. In the north direction, speed reduction was not statistically significant. Overall, combined results of cluster analysis and statistical tests showed that the treatments were more effective in the direction with higher speeds in the base scenario.

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