Are Roundabouts A Good Thing

Are Roundabouts A Good Thing

With warmer weather attempting to make its way to Wisconsin, orange cones and city personnel in bright yellow vests are everywhere. Among fixing potholes and repainting lines, entirely new roads are being built. A new structure of discussion has been the infamous roundabout and if they are really as helpful as the state says they are, but are they worth the cost of frustration to drivers, and the cost to implement these new structures?

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WIDOT), roundabouts have decreased fatal crashes by 90%, injuries have decreased by 76% and crashes involving pedestrians have also been reduced by 30-40%. This is great, but how many people do you know who are happy their tax money is being used to redo a road that was just redone a year, maybe two years ago? Yes, because of the lives that are saved.

The Transportation Research Board did a study strictly on roundabouts. This study showed everything from statistics on how people felt the roundabout either improved or lessened the functionality of the intersection to the costs of implementing a roundabout. (STATS)

Originally I was unconvinced that a roundabout was a good idea. Basic intersections were doing just fine and people understand how a stop light and stop sign work. I found roundabouts annoying, time consuming, and tedious. But the fact is that is why a roundabout is such a great idea.

Because it’s something different and tedious, it forces the driver to put more concentration into what they are doing, and focus more on what they are doing. The majority of drivers today, including myself, have a horrid habit of eating, drinking, talking or texting on their phone, doing their hair or makeup, changing a radio station, and driving all simultaneously. When approaching a roundabout, although I may be annoying to stop, these other activities, most people have to because of the concentration needed to safely make it through a roundabout.

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