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What is a roundabout?

A roundabout is a type of circular intersection with yield control of entering traffic, islands on the approaches, and appropriate roadway curvature to reduce vehicle speeds.

Modern roundabouts are different from rotaries and other traffic circles. For example, roundabouts are typically smaller than the large, high-speed rotaries still in use in some parts of the country. In addition, roundabouts are typically larger than neighborhood traffic circles used to calm traffic.


Why consider a roundabout?

Compared to other types of intersections, roundabouts have demonstrated safety and other benefits:

Improve Safety
  • More than 90% reduction in fatalities
  • 76% reduction in injuries
  • Slower vehicle speeds give drivers more decision making time
  • Slower speeds are generally safer for pedestrians
  • Reduce head-on and high-speed right-angle collisions
Reduce Congestion
  • Efficient during both peak hours and other times
  • Typically less delay
Reduce Pollution and Fuel Use
  • Fewer stops and hard accelerations, less time idling
Save Money
  • Often no traffic signals to install, power, and maintain
  • Smaller roundabouts may require less right-of-way than traditional intersections
  • Often less pavement needed
Complement other common community values
  • Quieter operation
  • Functional and aesthetically pleasing
  • Crosswalks included for pedestrians and bicyclists
* "Safety Effect of Roundabout Conversions in the United States: Empirical Bayes Observational Before-After Study." Transportation Research Record 1751, Transportation Research Board (TRB), National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Washington, D.C., 2001.
* NCHRP Report 572: Roundabouts in the United States. National Cooperative Highway Research Program, TRB, NAS, Washington, D.C., 2007.