Roundabouts & traffic circles are huge pet peeves with me. In my view a roundabout is typically a one lane intersection transition and a traffic circle will accommodate two lanes or more. I spent nine years living in New Zealand and was amazed at the lack of traffic signals at intersections. I spent 4 years in a city of 60,000 population that only had two traffic signals within the city limits.
What is a roundabout, really? It is the same as an intersection with a yield sign at each corner. How big does the “round” part need to be? In some cases is can be as small as a 6 – 8’ circle. Does the circle need to be raised? Ideally yes, for safety, but in small intersections a painted circle can suffice.
What seems to be the main disadvantage of roundabouts and traffic circles? The primary disadvantage is fear of change.
What are the advantages of roundabouts?
- They are significantly more cost effective – Current traffic signals for intersections will cost over $100,000 plus.
- They keep traffic flowing, almost no stop and go.
- They are statistically safer
- They are more fuel efficient
How to get past the fear factor: Initially post yield signs at each corner. The rule is simply to look to the left. If someone is already in the intersection, then they have the right of way.