NMA E-Newsletter #114: Roundabouts – Love ’em or Hate ’em?

Traffic engineers definitely love them. We attended a community meeting in Wisconsin where the state DOT was introducing the concept of a roundabout and the public was skeptical, to say the least.

It didn’t help that while the transportation experts had favorable case studies and compelling visual aids, their presentation skills were sorely lacking. That just fired up the crowd even more.

It should be noted that by “roundabouts,” we aren’t talking about those small radius, single lane circulars that serve no more value than speed humps. No, the topic here is about robust multi-lane traffic diverting devices that generally replace the need for a signalized intersection.


The photo above illustrates the type of roundabout that has been springing up with more regularity in cities around the country, and particularly in the Midwest.

We suspect the opposition to roundabouts is at least in part rooted in unfamiliarity, or concern that others entering the circular aren’t familiar with proper protocols. Uncertainty and safe driving don’t mix well.

So we put the question to you:

Are you in favor of or against roundabouts as an alternative to signalized intersections and why?

All are invited to share their opinions with us, but please indicate your experience level with roundabouts when you do respond. Are they a brand new concept to you and your community, or have you been maneuvering through them for a period of at least several months – long enough to be able to list the pros and cons from your own experience.

Send your responses to us by email ([email protected]) or by mail (402 W. 2nd St., Waunakee, WI 53597). We will publish the most interesting replies in a future newsletter.

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