Dr. Clara Fang, associate professor of the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture, was recently awarded a $101,633 research grant from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) to study traffic operations of roundabouts. The grant will exam driver behavior at roundabouts, model traffic in a computer simulation environment and develop guidelines to improve roundabout planning and design. Several roundabouts in Connecticut (see the Figure) representing various traffic circling characteristics and geometric features are selected for the study.
Fang will collaborate with Dr. Jim Mahoney, Director of Connecticut Transportation Institute at University of Connecticut. The project will fund two engineering undergraduates and two graduate students at University of Hartford through summer internships and graduate assistantships. The students will work closely with ConnDOT engineers performing field data collection at various roundabouts with advanced computerized video equipment in the summer of 2014. They will process field data, measure driving performance parameters from video footage and apply computer simulation modeling to analyze design and traffic characteristics of roundabouts in the University of Hartford’s civil engineering laboratory. The study results will be used directly in the design and planning of roundabouts in Connecticut. The project strengthens the ties of the University of Hartford with the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the University of Connecticut.