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Is This a Roundabout?
The Lake County Division of Transportation is in a great position when it comes to roundabouts. We have the opportunity to learn from the successes and failures of other agencies. Knowing how to design and when to implement a modern roundabout are two very important things that we can learn from agencies halfway around the world, or agencies as close as our neighbors to the north in Wisconsin.
 
Contrary to popular belief, this is not a Modern Roundabout. In fact, it is a Traffic Circle.
 
Does this look familiar? That's right - it's the 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.
 
   
This location is on Schwerman Road in Hawthorn Woods.
 
This is close to a modern roundabout, however, it is not - the distinct feature 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. In this picture you can see the Truck Apron (which is being utilized by a fire engine).
 
At the end of the day this traffic circle is no different than a four-way stop intersection with a landscape median. Communities usually implement this style of intersection as a method of traffic calming.
 
 
 
 
   

This is a 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.