Now that the construction has begun and major traffic interruptions are in place, the hue and cry over putting a roundabout in everyone’s favorite intersection is sure to follow. In contrast to letter comments made in The Times edition for July 8, I offer the following information which I have extracted from the reliable websites listed below. I suggest everyone take the time to become more informed on roundabouts.
I observed on two trips to the U.K. how well they managed the heavy traffic on their crowded roads. They move all freight by truck there and the traffic is very heavy, but you seldom encounter traffic jams stopping traffic at exchanges. Traffic slows at their roundabouts but almost never comes to a halt.
Studies have shown roundabouts are safer than traffic lights. Drivers need to slow down and think at roundabouts, as opposed to trying to beat a red light; a feature that helps pedestrians. Overall, roundabouts have shown to achieve a 37 percent reduction in collisions as opposed to traffic lights.
Roundabouts may also improve traffic flow. Cars don’t have to wait for a green light and, as such, roundabouts promote continuous traffic flow. In most cases, roundabouts cost less to implement. Over the long term, roundabouts are $5,000-$10,000 cheaper per year, as there are no electrical costs involved. Roundabouts do need more property to implement, however there are (usually) fewer approach lanes than at traffic lights, reducing the cost.