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Public opinion and traffic flow impacts of newly installed modern roundabouts in the United States

Retting, Richard A.; Luttrell, Gregory; Russell, Eugene R.
ITE Journal
September 2002

Although modern roundabouts have been shown to improve safety and traffic flow, drivers often oppose their construction. The purpose of this study was to examine public opinion regarding roundabouts before and after construction in several U.S. communities and to evaluate their impact on traffic flow. The majority of drivers (55 percent) opposed roundabouts before construction, with most (41 percent) strongly opposed. After construction, the proportion of drivers strongly opposed to roundabouts declined to 15 percent, and the proportion favoring roundabouts increased from 31 to 63 percent. Roundabouts reduced overall vehicle delays, reduced the proportion of drivers that came to a stop, and reduced the level of traffic congestion. These results suggest that public support for roundabouts will build as drivers experience and adapt to this highly beneficial form of traffic control.