Michigan Roundabouts & Resources

“Intersections are hazardous locations! But what proceeded them — four-way stop-sign controlled intersections — are hardly a panacea, and indeed linked to far more fatal crashes than roundabouts.“~ Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

Local Movements…
Elsewhere…

___

Why roundabouts over standard signalized intersections:

  • Vehicle Safety: RbTs are designed to slow speeds & reduce traffic conflict points
  • Pedestrian & Bicycle safety: decreased speeds, shorter crossing distances, reduced conflict points & motorized traffic from only one direction.
  • Traffic operations: Increased flow, reduced congestion and increased capacity for intersections with high volume of left turns.
  • Environmental impact: benefits of reduction of fuel usage and pollution due to less stopping, starting and idling.
  • Construction costs: More right of way may increase some costs, but savings are realized long-term in less maintenance associated with signal repair and accident rates.
  • Aesthetics: Create a sense of place and reduce overhead clutter. Landscaped space in center of roundabouts help define a city’s unique aspects.
  • Economic: improved circulation and accessibility connects people to more niche communities.
  • Cut-through traffic: Can reduce the need and cause for cut through traffic, as the main corridor is less congested and perceived safety is increased.

* This list is not intended to be comprehensive. For more information and to form your own opinion, view and visit the resources linked below.

Current MI roundabouts

UPDATED: March 2011

56 are located on the map. There are likely more. Please send a message if you see one missing.

The goal in Traverse City is informed consent. The roundabouts proposed for Division St. and Grandview Parkway are a compromise that promises to maintain flow of motorists, most likely decreasing travel time, while ameliorating some of the issues involving 1) pedestrian/bicycle access 2) over all safety 3) context sensitivity to the neighborhoods/parkland 4) quality of life issues.

The community deserves an educated decision. Roundabout Resources:

Navigating Michigan’s Roundabouts

Safety & Engineering

Pedestrian/Bicycle Concerns

Environmental Benefits

(These aren’t traffic circles)

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on Roundabout safety:

Carmel Indiana has over 50 roundabouts. Their Midwestern Mayor introduces the city’s commitment to them in the following video.

More videos of MI Roundabouts:

In The News


  1. Bob Eichenlaub
    May 19, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Gary
    As usual you have done a great job giving us lots of information. One concern is the YouTube clips at 3X speed. I feel sea sick and nervous when I watch it. If I did not know better, it would reinforce the idea that roundabouts are like the traffic circles in Rome. How about slowing it down to 1X and show some traffic CALMING!!??

  2. May 19, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Good point, Bob. I will change that video out in 4 minutes or sooner (11:45 EST)

  3. May 21, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Roundabouts are great in the right application, for Division and the Parkway, not a good match. Here’s a nice link outlining similiar concerns:
    http://www.carsarebasic.org/traffic.html

  4. Raymond
    June 7, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    David, your link references outdated data from 2001-02 that is not supported by many sources from the last 3-4 years. The fact that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) supports roundabouts in most applications should be very compelling evidence to even “car first” people. IIHS has both actuaries AND skin in the game.

  5. June 30, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I watched some of the videos on the Cars are Basic website, and they do have some viable concerns. They are speaking up for what they see in their community and putting an opinion out there. I certainly wouldn’t criticize them for that, but I wish they had more evidence to support their positions.

    As far as I can tell, the Santa Barbara County Taxpayer Association proposes that roads should be built straight and wide, and if there is a need for speed control, then hire more police officers. Those ideas may work for expressways, but not for streets running through the middle of communities where there is a need for mixed modes, context sensitivity and a need for a higher degree of creativity.

  6. Tim W.
    November 19, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Don’t know if you have read this yet: European Import Has Cars Spinning. Heads, Too.

  7. April 6, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    In viewing one video on My Wheels are Turning and then viewing this one on Cars are Basic its the size that makes the difference. If we truly have the space for it on Division and 14th or Division and 7th then cool. I have a hard time picturing it on Division and the Parkway during Cherry Festival. Keep in mind some of the youngest drivers and oldest drivers. They are tenative and may interrupt the smooth flow. Then again, they may just avoid it all together and add another layer of traffic calming by taking an alternate route.

  8. August 9, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    After watching the Brighton video I definitely do not like it. It doesn’t look that much different from the ones in NJ, however, the problem there (in my experience) was not with the way they were set up, but was with how people were using them. They ignored the yield signs and just came flying into the circle and cut back out at breakneck speeds. It was easy to get trapped going around and around if you weren’t very aggressive and willing to take risks cutting through all that traffic coming in. Once people get used to these things is that how they will use them or is that unique to NJ drivers (who certainly have a reputation for recklessness)? I think it’s likely people will use them similarly in high traffic areas otherwise they are stuck at a yield sign for an unknown length of time (or what seems forever). They really don’t seem like a good idea based on my experience with them. Maybe you should go drive through those Brighton circles at a time of day when the traffic is much heavier and see how it flows then. I have heard people complaining about those very circles… that people drive to fast and it seems confusing and scary. I feel like I’m missing something here, or you are. How can you be so enthusiastic about these things? I’m sorry I don’t understand your POV.

  9. August 9, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Thank you for continued comments, Maxwell. It is really appreciated.

    I’ve driven the Brighton roundabouts and several other’s downstate frequently. It annoys my travel mates because I actually go out of my way to drive them as try understand them more. The Brighton exchange is fairly new and it is also filtering traffic that is coming off of the express way. So, people going 70-80 mph are all of sudden forced to go 18-mph through some quite small roundabouts for the purpose. It was an ambitious project to put three roundabouts together.

    That said, the several times I’ve driven them I’ve had no issues and at rush hour there I’ve hardly seen the traffic I’d suspect to see; the traffic is there, but it simply clears through more efficiently. The newness factor is an issue and a lot of communities that don’t have them and then have them installed have a 2-3 year learning curve. In those communities, the letters to the editor stack up with complaints and consternation. Then, after people learn how to navigate them and the police and political leaders see that there has been a decline in serious injury causing crashes, the tone starts to change.

    New Jersey is often sited as the bad experience, but NJ is known for it’s traffic circles, not its roundabouts. Here is an ok explanation of the difference between the two (BTW, I’ve seen better, but I can’t locate it right now) http://www.alaskaroundabouts.com/mythfact1.html

    This article from the NY Times explores the growing pains of their use and mentions why New Jersey is often wrongly sited: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/19/us/19roundabouts.html

    At the end of the day, many people hate large signalized intersections equally as much as some people hate roundabouts. Heck, many of us hate the car dominated world in general, but we aren’t changing that anytime soon. However, the safety advantages are what is moving many of the DOT’s to prefer roundabouts. In New York state, roundabouts are actually to be considered before all other options.

  1. July 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm
  2. July 26, 2010 at 8:46 am

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