Researchers use drones to study Fredericton’s first roundabout
Published Thursday, February 4, 2016 6:26PM AST
Last Updated Thursday, February 4, 2016 6:30PM AST
It's been four months since Fredericton opened its traffic roundabout and since that time there have been a few bumps in the road.
A couple of grad students from the University of New Brunswick have made the traffic troubles the focus of their thesis and are getting a bird’s eye view of drivers with the help of a drone.
Caitlin Sowers is interested in traffic safety. She is studying the way people perceive the roundabout when they enter, the control they have when they are in it, and any errors they make.
“There's two things, right, there's people who don't know how to use a regular roundabout and there's people who have trouble with a multi-lane roundabout,” says Sowers. “You should know which way to go around the roundabout.”
Sowers is going through hours of video taken with the help of fellow grad student Laird Ferguson.
“My research is on using drones for inspections of inaccessible infrastructure,” says Ferguson.
Ferguson has flown drones over bridges and retaining walls as part of his thesis and, now, he and Sowers head out once a month to gather footage of the roundabout.
Fredericton's first roundabout now sees an average of 26,000 cars every day and, according to the grad students’ research, drivers seem to be getting used to it.
“One of the common concerns we got before the roundabout opened was, this is Fredericton drivers, they'll never be able to figure out a multi-laned roundabout. You know, I think the video is showing overwhelmingly that the vast amount of drivers are,” says traffic engineer Jon Lewis.
The city says the research is allowing them to see the most commonly made errors. So far, it's been that drivers are not yielding for both lanes
and that's how they'll cater the next roundabout education campaign.
"No other multi-lane roundabout has really been researched in this capacity. So it's an opportunity, once this data is collected, to share with other municipalities who maybe building similar type facilities,” says Lewis.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Brown