PennDOT praises roundabouts

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has announced that according to department data, fatalities, injuries and crashes decreased overall at 19 roundabouts at 16 locations after they were built.

“We are glad to promote the use of roundabouts throughout the commonwealth,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “The facts speak for themselves. Roundabouts save lives and reduce crash severity over standard stop or signal controlled intersections.”

Roundabouts are frequently installed to address intersections with safety issues but may also be installed to improve traffic flow as well as other reasons such as traffic calming, and to facilitate pedestrian mobility.

Although roundabouts are safer and typically more efficient than traditional signalized intersections, in many cases they may not be the best option due to topography or other reasons, such as property impacts, capacity issues and proximity to other intersections.

PennDOT recently reviewed data for 19 roundabouts on state routes at intersections that were previously stop signs or signal controlled. These roundabouts were selected based on having at least three years of crash data available before and after the roundabouts were built. These 19 comprise all the roundabouts on state routes that met the selection parameters.

Department data based on police-submitted crash reports spanning the years 2000 through 2018 shows:

– Fatalities were reduced from two to zero.

– Suspected serious injuries were reduced by 90 percent, from 10 to one.

– Suspected minor injuries were reduced by 79 percent, from 24 to five.

– Possible/unknown severity injuries were reduced by 81 percent, from 70 to 13.

– Property damage only crashes increased by 10 percent, from 69 to 76.

– Total number of crashes decreased by 34 percent, from 138 to 91.

In addition to the 19 roundabouts meeting the selection criteria, 29 other roundabouts have been built on state routes and more than 40 more are in design.

Roundabouts are recognized by the Pennsylvania State Transportation Innovation Council as an innovation that has become standard practice within the transportation community.

The council facilitates the rapid implementation of proven, well-researched and documented state, regional, national and international technologies, tactics, techniques and any other innovations that are new to Pennsylvania.

The council also supports the implementation of the Federal Highway Administration’s Every Day Counts Initiatives.

To educate Pennsylvanians on how to navigate a roundabout, the department created a video on how to use both single and multi-lane roundabouts whether in a vehicle, on a bicycle or on foot. The video can be accessed by visiting the roundabout page on www.penndot.gov or by visiting the department’s YouTube channel.