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?

  1. They are significantly more cost effective – Current traffic signals for intersections will cost over $100,000 plus.
  2. They keep traffic flowing, almost no stop and go.
  3. They are statistically safer
  4. 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.