Skip to content Français +/- Site options

Clearing Our Path

Section Menu

Design Needs

Design Basics

Exteriors and Interiors

Exterior Design Elements

Interior Design Elements


Roundabouts, also known as traffic circles, can present significant challenges for people impacted by blindness. In many cases, they will learn an alternate travel route to avoid encountering a roundabout. As cities choose to develop more roundabouts, they are creating barriers for people impacted by blindness to travel independently.

Where roundabouts are planned, an extensive public education campaign, targeted at both pedestrians and drivers, should be an integral component of any new installation.

A pedestrian crossing system at a roundabout featuring an offset island in the middle of the approach road. The pedestrian route consists of a raised crossing for traffic calming. Source: Institute for Transportation Research at North Carolina State University.

Take note of the following design guidelines:

An alternate type of guidance TWSI is recommended on road surfaces to assist persons with blindness to navigate road crossings as roundabouts. Further information is provided in the Tactile walking surfaces indicator sub-section of the section Exteriors and Interiors – Common Design Elements.

A detailed study on the barriers created by roundabouts and possible solutions can be found in a report published by the NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM (NCHRP) REPORT 674 Crossing Solutions at Roundabouts and Channelized Turn Lanes for Pedestrians with Vision Disabilities (PDF).

Emerging technology using in-road sensors and/or video can detect approaching vehicles and determine whether they are yielding or if there is a safe gap in traffic to allow pedestrians to cross. Some systems incorporate both methods. These systems then trigger visual and audible pedestrian signals indicating that it’s safe to cross. The efficacy of these technologies is still under investigation.