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Driving Roundabout Kansas

So you are going to get an auto loan and buy a car. Maybe you have been out looking at automobiles already, along the way you might have seen one of the new Roundabouts being integrated into the Kansas landscape. They look like traffic circles, but they different. Many people find them confusing. Here is some information to help understand Roundabouts and why they are showing up around Kansas.

Roundabouts Are Not Traffic Circles

The key to understanding the new Roundabouts is knowing that they are not the same thing as traffic circles. Traffic circles have been showing up on side streets and in neighborhoods for a long time now, so most people are familiar with them. Both traffic circles and Roundabouts come in different sizes and vary in aesthetic design. In both Roundabouts and traffic circles, traffic circulates around a central island exiting at one of multiple entry and exit points. With a traffic circle there is typically a stop sign or signal that causes traffic to stop before entering. Roundabouts use yields at entrances, leaving the circulating traffic to continue unimpeded.

How Roundabouts Work

Roundabouts are designed to keep traffic moving without having to stop and cause congestion. Traffic inside the Roundabout is kept continuously moving. When entering a Roundabout traffic yields to the traffic already in the circle, moving into the circle when it is clear. Once in the circle vehicles travel around to one of the multiple entry/exit points and exits the circle without needing to stop or yield. There are other aspects to the Roundabout design that help maintain a steady flow of traffic. For example, pedestrian walkways are only permitted at the entry and exit points, moving them around the outside of the circle and leaving the vehicles inside free to continue without stopping. Parking is also prohibited inside Roundabouts.

Why Roundabouts

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation Roundabouts were chosen because they simultaneously improve both safety and traffic capacity and more cost effective than constructing and maintaining a traffic signal. In their documentation about Roundabouts, the Kansas Department of Transportation cites a 60% reduction in vehicle crashes at intersections where Roundabouts have replaced the usual traffic signal intersections.

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