A Study of the Impact of Roundabouts on Traffic Flows and Businesses

Roundabouts are relatively new. In various areas of the USA the general public and local officials and politicians tend to be polarized, i.e., some think they are great; others think they are no good. Two of the more controversial issues is their impact on traffic flows and, closely related, their impact on business in the area. For example, there has been news in Topeka indicating impact or perceived impacts on business. Some persons argue that drivers avoid routes with roundabouts and adversely impact adjacent routes; others argue that they attract added traffic. The same diversity of opinion exists regarding their impact on business. The truth is that nobody knows because there never has been a study of this aspect of roundabout growth, either nationally or locally. Do roundabouts cause drivers to avoid some routes and negatively affect business along those routes, as some people and business owners believe; or do they attract vehicles because they reduce crashes, delay, and stopping? The modern roundabout has proven to be a safe and efficient intersection traffic control system reducing all crashes 40%, and injury crashes 80%, and reducing delay and stopping 50% to 80% along with concomitant decreases in vehicular pollutants. When roundabouts were new, there was a strong belief that they would cause drivers to avoid them and vehicles to use and congest alternate routes and hurt business along the roundabout route. For example, businesses near an Interstate ramp in Junction City fought a roundabout because they believed, without any basis, that drivers would avoid exiting to their business because of the proposed roundabout. More recently, there is a counter belief that roundabouts attract traffic (and business) from other routes, causing these roundabout routes to be congested. This could be negative or positive for businesses depending whether they are on the roundabout route of an alternate route. The object of the research is to study before and after traffic flows in the areas of roundabout implementation to determine the effect on traffic flows and the impact of changes in flows on businesses along the routes. There are enough roundabouts in Topeka, Lawrence and the metropolitan Kansas City area to provide data to analyze and draw reliable conclusions.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Kansas Department of Transportation

    Eisenhower State Office Building
    700 SW Harrison Street
    Topeka, KS  United States  66603-3754
  • Performing Organizations:

    Kansas State University's Center for Transportation Research

    2118 Friedler Hall
    Manhattan, KS  United States  66506-5000
  • Principal Investigators:

    Landman, E

    Russell, Eugene

  • Start Date: 20090303
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 21283

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01489688
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Kansas State University's Center for Transportation Research
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Aug 14 2013 1:01AM