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Modern Roundabouts: An Innovative Solution to Intersection Safety Concerns

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Published on Feb 15, 2013

Although you may not be aware of it, crashes at intersections account for about 45% of all traffic collisions nationwide. "That's a pretty

shocking statistic! But if you think about it -- motorists and pedestrians enter intersections at different times and speeds throughout the

day and night, virtually year round. The danger is compounded when cars enter at high speeds, disregarding the traffic signals.
You may be surprised to know that as early as 1905 transportation specialists were working to develop the best solutions for intersections."

The first traffic circles, or rotaries, appeared in the United States and other countries around that time. There was just one problem:

These circles were designed to accommodate high speed entries -- and as traffic began to increase, so did the congestion and the number of

crashes.

In 1966, the UK adopted a "give-way" rule, which required entering traffic to yield to traffic already in the circle. This prevented

congestion by not allowing vehicles to enter until there were sufficient gaps in circulating traffic.

Modern roundabouts are one-way circular intersections in which traffic flows around a center island. What makes them superior to the

earlier design is that they eliminate left turns, while also providing fewer stops, delays and less congestion.

Sedona, Arizona has seen first-hand how modern roundabouts can increase safety and add to the overall aesthetics of an already beautiful

location.

Carl Berkhalter: "We've actually done six now, and they're learning each time they do it, um, how to do it a little faster and a little

better."

What made the Sedona project unique was the amount of support and community outreach the Arizona Department of Transportation included as

part of the process.

Mary Schmac: "We've really developed this with rather than presenting ideas to the community, really getting ideas from the community and

going from there. So we have a two-way dialog with the community, they know that, they know that we are opening open to listening. And I

think that has really been unique and an important part of this project."

Sedona Police Officer: "This is the fourth day that I've been out here and, um, I've noticed general improvement, not only in their, uh,

ability to be able to handle the construction -- as far as their driving ability -- but also just in their attitude towards it and and the

general goodwill, so to speak."

To learn how modern roundabouts can result in fewer crashes, less delay than signalized intersections, while also adding to the visual

appeal of your community, contact the Federal Highway Administration and Highways for LIFE or visit their websites.

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