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Is This a Roundabout?

Traffic Circle

This is a Traffic Circle, not a Modern Roundabout. Here is an example of a traffic circle at the intersection of Golf Rd. and Wolf Rd. in Des Plaines, Illinois.

The differences:

  • This Traffic Circle requires drivers to stop before entering the circle. A modern roundabout only requires drivers to yield, therefore, traffic is constantly moving.
  • Unlike a modern roundabout, this traffic circle does not have uniform entrances and exits, thus limiting traffic flow.
  • Too many legs. Modern roundabouts are not designed to have more than four legs to an intersection.

Full-Stop Roundabout

This example is a full-stop roundabout in Hawthorn Woods. The distinct feature that makes it different than a modern roundabout is that on each leg there are stop signs. You can see the white stop bar on each entrance into the circle. This is similar to a modern roundabout, but does not provide the traffic flow efficiency of a modern roundabout. This is basically a four-way stop intersection with a landscape median. Communities usually implement this style of intersection as a method of traffic calming.

Modern Roundabout

All of the following characteristics make this a modern roundabout:

  • Traffic yields to other cars in the roundabout.
  • Splitter islands on each leg of the intersection to aid traffic flow.
  • A truck apron to accommodate larger vehicles.
  • Pedestrian crossings set back away from traffic in the roundabout.

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