Task Order 6203
Transportation Safety Research


Bicycle Detection and Operational Concept at Signalized Intersections

Steven Shladover
California PATH

Summary

It is becoming increasingly important for the traffic control system to efficiently and safely accommodate the needs of bicyclists. In order to accommodate bicyclists effectively, progress is needed to two major areas addressed by this research—detection of the presence of the bicyclists, and development of strategies for adjusting signal timing accordingly. Detection technologies will be investigated and existing systems will be enhanced if necessary to enable discrimination of bicyclist presence. Based on information derived from field data collection of bicyclist behavior when crossing streets at intersections, recommendations will be developed for signal timing to accommodate the needs of bicyclists. The research plan begins with a review of the relevant literature on bicycle detection and signaling strategies and a survey of the available detection products. The most promising commercially available bicycle detection and signaling strategies and a survey of the available detection products. The most promising commercially available bicycle detectors will be tested at PATH's fully instrumented intersection, to identify their capabilities and limitations under a variety of carefully controlled test conditions. If their performance is not adequate, enhancements will be implemented. If the results of the work on detection and signal timing changes appear sufficiently promising, a second phase of work will be activated to conduct a field test of the recommended systems, so that their effectiveness can be proven on a real-world intersection. The deliverables will include the recommendation of a bicyclist detection method and signal timing strategy, with results of the testing so that traffic engineers can be encouraged to implement them more widely.