About a ‘modern’ roundabout
What is a ‘modern’ roundabout?
A ‘modern’ roundabout is a circular intersection that provides a safer and more efficient operation than standard traffic signal controlled intersections. Traffic speeds entering a roundabout are typically 15 to 20 mph. Roundabouts move traffic safely and efficiently through an intersection because:
- Lower speeds (15-25 mph)
- Fewer Traffic Conflicts (8 versus 32)
- Easy Decision Making
How do you drive a ‘modern’ roundabout?
People unfamiliar to traveling through a roundabout will often say they seem confusing. In reality they find out that they are very simple to drive. Motorists approaching a roundabout are required to slow down as they enter, look left and yield to traffic in the circle. This is usually done through roadway design that narrows the approach roadway and requires the driver to turn their steering wheel as they enter a roundabout approach. At the entrance to a roundabout, pavement markings indicate that the driver must yield to traffic in the circulating. The driver than turns right, you have the right of way and then turn onto your destination street. All signing and pavement marking are standardized and similar to those a driver encounters at other intersections.
Why is the US building roundabouts?
Roundabouts are being constructed by state DOT’s and local communities because comparative studies with signalized intersections have shown that roundabouts are safer and reduce travel delays. Right-of-way requirements, in total, are typically similar to that required for improved signalized intersections. Construction costs are approximately the same. Annual maintenance and operating costs are typically less than signalized intersection costs. Roundabouts are designed to specifically accommodate large trucks.
What are the benefits of a ‘modern’ roundabout?
According to ‘Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’ studies, roundabouts:
- Reduce fatal intersection related crashes by 89 %
- Reduce injury intersection related crashes by 76 %
- Reduce total intersection related crashes by 39 %
- Reduction in pedestrian crashes by 35 %
- Reduction in bicycle crashes by 10 %
- Reduce motorist delays by 65 to 89 %
Other benefits include potential higher traffic capacities, traffic calming, reduced fuel consumption and air pollution plus the central island provides an opportunity to beautify an intersection with landscaping treatments.