As cities and counties grow, so do traffic challenges. Plagued with congested, sluggish roadways, cities are forced to rethink traffic solutions. It’s why more and more municipalities from villages to metropolises are adopting roundabouts, and with good reason: Studies by the Federal Highway Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety credit roundabouts with a whopping 90% reduction in fatal crashes and a 75% reduction in injury collisions. It’s easy to see why: While a four-way intersection poses 32 possible conflict points between vehicles, a single-lane roundabout poses only eight. As conflict points go down, safety goes up.
A veritable “Swiss Army knife” of traffic efficiency, roundabouts banish the need for drivers to stop at traffic signals, reducing travel times. Not only does this enhance the peace of mind and quality of life of drivers, its good news for the environment. Without the need to provide electricity to traffic lights, roundabouts consume far less energy than a signalized intersection. And, without the starting and stopping required at traffic signals, vehicle emissions are lower. Additionally, the removal of traffic lights eliminates related hardware, maintenance, and electrical costs amounting to $500,000 at installation and $10,000 per year in operating costs. Plus, as if that’s not enough, it lessens noise and pollution levels.
Since 1997, American Structurepoint has solved a slew of traffic woes and design dilemmas by designing and implementing traffic solutions which include over 300 roundabouts. In fact, our original design of a double-teardrop roundabout interchange—the first of its kind in the nation—has been duplicated many times over throughout the US. Meanwhile, our peers have come to us for training, we were instrumental in the development of INDOT’s roundabout design guide, and we’ve played an active role in national and international roundabout committees and task forces.
You can hear our roundabout expert, Vice President Mike McBride, discuss the benefits of roundabouts on the widely popular Freakonomics podcast. Episode 454, entitled “Should Traffic Lights Be Abolished,” is available on Apple, Stitcher, and elsewhere, or at https://freakonomics.com/podcast/roundabouts/.