Group Formation of Road Users in Shared Spaces

Shared space designs reduce the separation between all road users by removing traffic signs, creating a low-speed environment with no obvious physical segregation between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. The original concept was developed by Hans Monderman during the 1970s to address traffic safety issues in Dutch urban areas. The concept has been implemented in several places and evaluated. Studies showed that with high traffic volume, pedestrians have to wait to cross the street and still feel unsafe as vehicles don’t slow down enough. Groups of pedestrians seem to be less at risk though as they get noticed better by drivers.

Consequently, in this doctoral project a set of algorithms is developed to let random pedestrians pass the shared space as a group, leading to improved efficiency and safety for all kind of road users. Given their origin and destination, initial groups are formed and pedestrians may join the group on their way. Then, the group paths are planned taking into consideration obstacles and different destinations.

The proposed solution is tested on real and synthetic movement datasets and evaluated using efficiency, safety and complexity-related criteria.

Researcher: Yao Li, M. Sc.