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Why Use a Roundabout?
Safety: Roundabouts have been shown to reduce fatal and injury accidents as much as 76% in the USA, 75% in Australia and 86% in Great Britain. The reduction in accidents is attributed to slower speeds and reduced number of conflict points (see image below).
Pedestrian Safety: All research suggests that modern roundabouts are safer than signalized intersections for pedestrians. This safety advantage has been attributed to the slower traffic speed at roundabouts and the division of the pedestrian crossing into two stages, from the near-side wheelchair ramp out to the splitter island, and then from the splitter island to the far-side wheelchair ramp. In each stage the pedestrian has to look in only one direction to cross a one-way traffic stream. Pedestrian refuges are provided in the areas within the splitter islands.
Low Maintenance: Eliminates maintenance costs associated with traffic signals which amount to approximately \\$3,500 per year per intersection. In addition, electricity costs are reduced with a savings of approximately $1,500 per year per intersection.
Reduced Delay: By yielding at the entry rather than stopping and waiting for a green light, delay is significantly reduced.
Capacity: Intersections with a high volume of left turns are better handled by a roundabout than a multi-phased traffic signal.
Aesthetics: A reduction in delay corresponds to a decrease in fuel consumption and air pollution. In addition, the central island provides an opportunity to provide landscaping.
Conflict Points on a Regular 4-way Intersection Compared to a Modern Roundabout Intersection