(Mankato, MN) – Roundabouts can be frustrating because some drivers don’t understand how to properly use them, but the state’s nearly 200 roundabouts are reducing serious injuries and saving lives. That’s according to a new study released by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The study examined the safety performance of roundabouts by comparing the before- and after-construction crash rates. It shows an 86% reduction in the fatal crash rate at intersections where roundabouts were installed and an 83% reduction in the serious injury crash rate.
Among the roundabouts examined in the study were the five in Mankato, three in Blue Earth and one in New Ulm.
“Overall, roundabouts in Minnesota are performing well,” said Derek Leuer, traffic safety engineer. “In most cases, modern roundabouts compare favorably in safety and operational performance to conventional intersections with stop control or signalized operation.”
Design features of roundabouts that help reduce serious crashes and fatalities include yield control of entering traffic and channelized approaches and other geometric elements that control travel speeds, facilitate efficient exchange of traffic flows and minimize the number and severity of vehicle conflicts and crashes.
Roundabouts also have comparable initial construction costs and lower life-cycle costs than a traffic signal with similar traffic capacity, said Lauer.
Minnesota built its first roundabout in 1995 in Brooklyn Park.
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Photo credit: BFC Media & MnDOT