Clearing Our Path

Creating accessible environments ­for people with vision loss

Skip to content

Text resize: AAAA

Change contrast: AA


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 with vision loss. 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 with vision loss 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 vision loss 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.

An excellent resource to help designers visualize pedestrian crossing at roundabouts is available on the Institute for Transportation Research at North Carolina State University’s website.

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.