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Why is the U.S. Department of Transportation a big supporter of roundabouts?

On Behalf of | Jul 9, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

According to the Department of Health of New York, three New Yorkers die every day due to a traffic-related crash. Car accidents are common, and that’s why the government tries to reduce them by applying traffic control measures in the streets. One of the most effective safety countermeasures to reduce car crashes are roundabouts.


Modern roundabouts are one-way circular intersections in which traffic flows around a center island. The government implemented them because 45% of all traffic collisions happen in intersections. The primary purposes of roundabouts are:

  • To improve safety
  • To promote lower speeds
  • To reduce conflict points
  • To improve operational performance

Roundabouts reduce crashes because the tight circle in the middle forces drivers to slow down. Also, roundabouts don’t have left turns, so they avoid unnecessary stops, delays and congestion.

Ecological impact of roundabouts

Roundabouts not only prevent crashes, but they are also good for the environment. A study showed that roundabouts reduce 16.36% of nitrous oxide and 26.05% of hydrocarbons emissions because they prevent traffic delay. In peak hours, they can reduce up to 85 kg of carbon monoxide per day. Overall, roundabouts are the best intersection improvement to reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

The safest measure

At first, roundabouts can be intimidating for inexperienced drivers. However, they are the safest way to cross an intersection. This countermeasure is also safer for pedestrians, as they walk on sidewalks around the perimeter and cross only one direction of traffic at a time.  Accidents can still happen in roundabouts, but the chances of an accident are significantly reduced if the driver approaches them at a low speed.