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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-13-048
Date: October 2013
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Interchange navigation presents a range of challenges that are different from those associated with driving on continuous roads. For example, interchanges force drivers to make time-sensitive task demands (i.e., forced-paced tasks). More specifically, drivers at unfamiliar interchanges must read the available signage, observe pavement markings, and determine a path through the interchange before they reach the gore point. Additionally, driver errors at interchanges are often more difficult to correct since drivers may transfer to a grade-separated freeway, highway, or roadway that provides limited access points to return to the original roadway. Clear navigation signage is needed to guide drivers and reduce errors.
Although there has been previous research performed on signage in general, research specifically on interchange signage has been limited. There is little consensus on a best way to design signs for interchanges, and, in general, the current data on sign design is incomplete. The objective of this project was to begin addressing these information needs. This project yielded several overall conclusions related to driver expectations at complex interchanges. Namely, most drivers have problems at complex unfamiliar interchanges and feel stressed when they are surprised, are required to perform multiple lane changes in a short distance, or do not receive the information they expect. Several recommendations for sign designs are offered to help address these conditions. This report will be useful to traffic-safety researchers and traffic engineers responsible for highway design and public safety.
Monique R. Evans
Director, Office of Safety
Research and Development
This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.
The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.
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Topics: research, safety
Keywords: research, safety, Complex Interchanges, Interchanges, Signage, Driver Behavior
TRT Terms: research, Safety and security, Safety, Transportation safety