The roundabout at North Main and Auburn near Greenwood Cemetery in Rockford was completed in November 2013. Its purpose is to move traffic quickly and safely through the busy intersection and to build the infrastructure for business revitalization in the area. However, many are still uncomfortable navigating the new intersection. So, what are the advantages of a roundabout and why do people fear them?
Advantages of a Roundabout
A roundabout is a circular intersection that replaces a typical four-way intersection. It calms traffic by requiring approaching drivers to yield to those already in the circle and has the effect of reducing vehicle speeds due to the curvature of the road. Following are some of the major advantages of a roundabout:
- Improved safety – According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, roundabouts reduce the number of fatalities by more than 90 percent, reduce the number of injuries by 76 percent, and reduce the overall number of crashes by 35 percent.
- Reduced congestion – Roundabouts increase the rate at which traffic flows through the intersection—even during the morning and evening rush hour.
- Lower fuel costs – Drivers spend less time idling and stop less often, which reduces fuel costs and pollution.
- Improved appearance – Roundabouts, which often include grass-covered islands, are typically more aesthetically pleasing than traditional intersections.
- Decreased maintenance costs – Roundabouts are less costly than traditional intersections. They often require less pavement and no signal equipment to power and maintain.
Why Are People Apprehensive?
We all know what to do when we approach a traditional intersection—we stop when it is red and go when it is green. These intersections feel safe and familiar. Roundabouts, on the other hand, are not very common in U.S. cities, and the change can be difficult for drivers. Education and practice during light traffic is key to conquering fear of roundabouts.
So, what are your thoughts about the new roundabout in Rockford? Do you like it? Do you hate it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.