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Roundabouts proven safer in Pennsylvania

September 20, 2018 12:00 AM
By: Larissa Newton

If you drive in Pennsylvania, chances are you’ve encountered a roundabout. If not, you’ll likely see one popping up in your area in the coming years as PennDOT continues to promote this safe alternative to traditional stop-sign or signal-controlled intersections.

National studies show that modern roundabouts reduce fatal crashes by up to 90 percent. Pennsylvania data* through 2017 shows that roundabouts on state routes have seen:

  • Fatalities reduced by 100 percent
  • Suspected serious injuries reduced by 100 percent
  • Suspected minor injuries reduced by 95 percent
  • Total number of crashes dropped 47 percent

Also, through 2017, there have been no reported pedestrian or bicycle-involved crashes in any of these roundabouts since they opened. 

Roundabouts vs. Traffic Circles

roundabouts versus traffic circles infographic

Modern roundabouts in Pennsylvania are NOT the same as the old-style New Jersey traffic circles, which operate on a different set of principles. For instance, motorists entering traffic circles tend to have the right of way (not as safe), whereas traffic entering a roundabout must yield to motorists already in the circle (much safer). Traffic circles also tend to be much larger, but are inefficient for handling the increased traffic volumes we face today.

Driving on a roundabout is easy, once you know how. Watch our video on navigating Pennsylvania’s roundabouts or learn more on the department’s roundabouts webpage.

*There are currently 11 roundabouts on state routes at previous stop-sign or signal-controlled intersections with at least three years of before-and-after data.

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