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1. Do roundabouts work?
Yes, over 1,000 modern roundabouts have been built in the U. S. since 1990 in states such as Wisconsin, New York, Maryland, Kansas, and Michigan. National and state studies show that roundabouts increase safety and reduce delay.
2. How do roundabouts compare to intersections controlled by traffic signals?
Roundabouts offer a safer intersection with less delay than intersections controlled by traffic signals. They virtually eliminate t-bone crashes, which allows for a 75% reduction in injury crashes. Crashes at multi-lane roundabouts are reduced by 8% - 35%. Roundabouts reduce delay by having traffic yield before proceeding instead of forcing traffic to stop and wait at a red light when there is no conflicting traffic.
3. Are roundabouts cost effective?
Yes. Roundabouts are comparable in cost to traffic signals. A benefit of roundabouts is that they do not require the maintenance and electricity cost associated with a traffic signal.
4. Are roundabouts safe for pedestrians?
In many cases, roundabouts offer a safer environment for pedestrians than an intersection controlled by a traffic signal because traffic moves slower, the crossing distance is reduced, and traffic is coming from only one direction. At a signal, pedestrians often have to deal with through, right, and left turning traffic and typically must wait longer to cross.
5. How do multi-lane roundabouts work?
Multi-lane roundabouts function like a traffic signal with multiple lanes. Signs are placed along the roadway prior to the roundabout informing motorists of the movements that are allowed in each lane. For instance, at a signal, left turns are generally not allowed from the right lane, and right turns are not allowed from the left lane. The same is true at a multi-lane roundabout. Always follow the signs to choose the correct lane.
6. What is the difference between a roundabout, a traffic circle, and a rotary?
A list of differences can be found here:
Roundabouts vs. Traffic Circles
Roundabouts vs Rotaries
7. Do roundabouts accommodate buses/trucks?
Roundabouts are designed so that buses may go through them while staying in their own lane. Larger roundabouts allow large semi trailers to go through them while staying in their lane as well; however, most roundabouts have a raised concrete apron around the inside circle to allow trucks to ride over them. This allows trucks to go through the roundabout while allowing the roundabout to stay small in size.
8. What should I do if I'm in a roundabout at the same time as an emergency vehicle?
You should proceed through the roundabout prior to pulling over for the emergency vehicle to pass. If you are approaching a roundabout, pull over before entering to allow emergency vehicles to pass you. Never stop within the roundabout, as doing so may obstruct the path of the emergency vehicle and prevent other vehicles from exiting.
9. What impacts do roundabouts have on surrounding property?
Roundabouts typically take more room than traffic signals at low-volume intersections. As volumes increase, the size of a roundabout and traffic signals become comparable. However, because roundabouts do not require the construction of turn lanes to store vehicles waiting for a green light, they allow the roadways entering the roundabout to be narrower, thus reducing property impact.
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