Traffic circles may become widespread

November 17, 2005

Modern roundabouts, or traffic circles, not only reduce crashes, but research shows they also can help alleviate traffic backups and resulting delays.

Researchers say roundabouts improve traffic flow and reduce injury crashes by as much as 75 percent, compared with intersections controlled by stop lights or signs.

Although tens of thousands of traffic circles have been built worldwide, only about 1,000 exist in the United States.

"Transportation engineers, like everybody else, generally go with what they're used to," said Richard Retting of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Doing this means missing the benefits of roundabouts."

Institute researchers compared such factors as traffic volume, the number of accidents, and traffic delays at traditional intersections, with those occurring at the more modern traffic circles.

A key finding is that vehicle delays would be reduced by up to 74 percent, saving 325,000 hours of motorists' time annually. The scientists estimated crashes could be reduced by 75 percent.

"If only 10 percent of the 250,000 intersections with signals in the United States were modified as roundabouts, the national safety and fuel saving benefits would be enormous," Retting said.

The research appears in the institute's journal, Status Report.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: A future world full of driverless cars... seriously?!

Related Stories

Jaywalking not worth the risk, expert says

December 16, 2013

The hectic holidays may have many looking to save a few extra minutes wherever they can be found, but a University of Alabama at Birmingham expert says one seemingly small action—jaywalking—should be avoided at all times.

Recommended for you

Shocks in the early universe could be detectable today

October 27, 2016

(—Physicists have discovered a surprising consequence of a widely supported model of the early universe: according to the model, tiny cosmological perturbations produced shocks in the radiation fluid just a fraction ...

Bubble nucleus discovered

October 27, 2016

Research conducted at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University has shed new light on the structure of the nucleus, that tiny congregation of protons and neutrons found at the core of ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.