For years now, there has been talk in Hampton about re-configuring the way drivers transition between Route 101 and Route 1 North or South. At a recent Public Hearing in Hampton (4/11/16), the Rockingham Planning Commission referenced a planning option that includes creating a “roundabout”. The presenters made a point of distinguishing the configuration from a “rotary”. What’s the difference, and why the big deal? The following is from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA):
A roundabout is a type of circular intersection, but is quite unlike a rotary. Roundabouts have been proven safer and more efficient than other types of circular intersections.
Successful roundabouts come in all shapes and sizes. Some are shaped like ovals, teardrops, peanuts or dog bones. Some have as few as three legs and others as many as six. There are small, simple mini-roundabouts, and larger, more complex roundabouts. However, regardless of size, shape, or number of legs, the fundamental and essential characteristics of all roundabouts include:
Counterclockwise Flow. Traffic travels counterclockwise around a center island.
Entry Yield Control. Vehicles entering the roundabout yield to traffic already circulating.
Low Speed. Curvature that results in lower vehicle speeds, generally 15-25 MPH, throughout the roundabout.
Roundabouts are often safer, more efficient, less costly and more aesthetically appealing than conventional intersection designs. The FHWA Office of Safety identified roundabouts as a Proven Safety Countermeasure because of their ability to substantially reduce the types of crashes that result in injury or loss of life. Roundabouts are designed to improve safety for all users, including pedestrians and bicyclists.
Source: Federal Highway Administration http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/