A new study released by Minnesota Department of Transportation shows what engineers and designers at Transoft Solutions have known for years: that roundabouts increase road safety.
The study, quoted by radio station KROC AM 1340, looked at 200 roundabouts in the state and found there was not a single multi-vehicle fatality. In fact, there was an 86% reduction in fatal crashes and 83% less crashes causing serious injuries, because of Minnesota roundabouts. Since single-lane roundabouts were installed, there have been 42% less crashes causing injuries.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), this is due to less conflict points, and the lower speeds (generally 15-25 mph) that vehicles typically travel through a roundabout.
Other benefits of roundabouts noted by state officials include lower construction costs versus traditional lighted intersections, and lower lifecycle costs. Since the first roundabout in Minnesota was built in Brooklyn Park, the circular traffic control method has spread to every other county in the state, notes AM 1340.
While roundabouts originated in Europe, over the years many U.S. states, cities and counties have chosen them over intersections.
Kittelson & Associates, which publishes an online roundabouts inventory, shows 4,200 roundabouts were being used in the U.S. in 2016.
Read the full MnDOT study here.