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Are Roundabouts Safe?

Studies have shown that roundabouts are safer than traditional stop sign or signal-controlled intersections.
 
Roundabouts reduced crashes by 75 percent at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used for traffic control, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Studies by the IIHS and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have shown that roundabouts typically achieve:
 
  • A 37 percent reduction in overall collisions
  • A 75 percent reduction in injury collisions
  • A 90 percent reduction in fatality collisions
  • A 40 percent reduction in pedestrian collisions

Roundabout Safety Chart
Source: IIHS Source: FHWA

The design of the modern roundabout incorporates these additional safety elements:

 
  • Geometric Design - Proper geometric design ensures that traffic will flow safely and efficiently. For example, pedestrian crosswalks are located away from traffic in the roundabout to increase safety for both the pedestrian and the driver.

  • Pavement Markings & Signage - Adequate markings and signage are vital for safely guiding each motorist through the roundabout. The signage and pavement markings inform the driver how to navigate the roundabout, as well as provide destination information without confusion.

  • Landscaping - Landscaping in the center island of the roundabout encourages lower speeds by limiting sight distance to the immediate left instead of all the way around the roundabout. Also, landscaping makes the central island more visible to approaching traffic.

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