Tom Philois annoyed with . . .

Traffic Circles and Roundabouts (Round-a-bouts)

Why Aren't They used More Often?

A Roundabout as seen from the castle at Falaise, France

Traffic Circles have been around for over 300 years like this one located in Falaise, France. However, the traffic engineers in the USA seem to hate them. The standard solution for any traffic engineer is:

There are a few traffic circles in Vancouver, Washington and also in Portland, Oregon but there are traffic lights and/or stop signs leading in and out of them! This defeats the whole purpose of traffic circles of allowing people to just slow down, look left and yield to traffic if there is any in the circle (in England look right!) and if no traffic just zip around.

US Traffic Engineers use the Term Roundabout (Round-a-Bout) and Traffic Circle but they have different meanings to Engineers. Circles are DESIGNED to have stop signs, lights and are to be placed in cities. While Roundabouts are for areas with lots of room and no pedestrians are around to cross over the traffic lanes. The picture of a roundabout take I took in Falaise, France would instantly be given traffic lights and stop signs since the US Engineers think that a this small functional road, since it is in a city, and it needs them.

The whole idea of a roundabout is that there are always natural breaks in a traffic stream so there is almost no waiting most of the time and you do NOT have to come to a complete stop. This saves lots of fuel. Since most people like to run the caution or red lights so they do not waste time waiting for a light to change so this road design method also gets rid of that problem since there are no lights to run!

This will cut down on the number of accidents. You do a normal yield to traffic and go on around the roundabouts. Traffic lights do not SOLVE any traffic problems they just REGULATE them. Each intersection with lights cost a cool $500,000 to install and LOTS of $ to burn those lights 24 hours a day seven days a week (and to study it all of couse). Traffic circles eliminate that cost and are self regulating.

Do you like stopping at a light for two minutes waiting for it to change when no traffic is coming in the other directions? Traffic circles eliminate that waiting. It would also eliminate the need to try and synchronize those lights that these TEs love to put up but never test in their own cars!

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