Roundabout Facts and Videos

General roundabout information

Why Roundabouts?   Roundabouts are becoming more popular based on the multiple opportunities to improve safety and operational efficiency.  They have a proven track record in Minnesota and across the country.   The Birch Street corridor fits the criteria to consider roundabouts due to the need for better access management, increase safety, reduce delays within the corridor and provide safe navigation for pedestrians.

Increased Safety   MnDOT published a study (link to study) in October, 2017, indicating intersections that were replaced with roundabouts reduced severe and fatal crashes by 80%.  The physical shape of roundabouts eliminates crossing conflicts that are present at conventional intersections, thus reducing the total number of potential conflict points and the most severe of those conflict points.

Improved Traffic Flow Experience   When operating within their capacity, roundabouts typically have lower overall delay than signalized and all-way stop-controlled intersections. The delay reduction is often most significant during non-peak traffic periods. These performance benefits can often result in reduced lane requirements between intersections. This is true with the Birch Street corridor.  Because the corridor eliminates a majority of the difficult left turn maneuvers, Birch Street can remain a two lane corridor, whereas with a  signalized option, a four lane section would be needed.

Improved Access Management   Many of the driveways and intersections along Birch Street do not meet the Anoka County Access Management Guidelines.  Because roundabouts can facilitate U-turns, they can be a key element of a comprehensive access management strategy to reduce or eliminate left-turn movements at driveways and intersections between major intersections. This increases safety greatly and eliminates the need for awkward U-turns and conventional intersections.

Pedestrian Safety   Due to the reduction of vehicle speeds in and around the intersection, roundabouts can improve pedestrian crossing opportunities. The splitter island refuge area provides the ability for pedestrians to focus on one traffic stream at a time while crossing. Additionally, the pedestrian crossing area is pulled back from the vehicle yield area, which allows the driver to focus on the pedestrian prior to the requirement to yield to other vehicles.

Roundabout Informational Videos

MnDOT Research – How About a Roundabout        

  • This video explains the benefits of the roundabout system on Minnesota roadways and how they reduce injury crashes and fatalities, increase pedestrian safety, and lessen vehicle congestion and pollution.

MnDOT Research – Roundabout Myths

  •  This video address three common roundabout myths, and in doing so demonstrates why roundabouts are a viable alternative for intersection traffic control.

MnDOT Research – Roundabout Myths

  •  This video address ten common roundabout myths, and in doing so demonstrates why roundabouts are a viable alternative for intersection traffic control.

Friends of Matt Ryan – Roundabout

  •  This video discusses Roundabouts from a Business Community perspective.

FHWA – Roundabout Myth – Large Trucks

  •  This video discusses how large trucks navigate roundabouts.

Additional roundabout information from the Minnesota Department of Transportation