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Better for the environment Safer. Not as annoying?
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Better for the environment Safer. Not as annoying?

This story is part The Salt Lake Tribunes ongoing commitment, through the work at the Innovation Lab, to find solutions to Utah’s greatest challenges.

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Roundabouts could be a small way of reducing tailpipe emissions.

Roundabouts may slow down individual drivers, but they rarely stop traffic. That means cars don’t have to idle and pollute intersections.

Queues at modern roundabouts tend to be brief and fleeting, so they are often short. Ken SidesChairperson of the Institute of Transportation EngineersRoundabout committee and an engineer Sam Schwartz EngineeringThus, the emissions of toxic fumes can be reduced.

According to the federal Department of Transportation, Roundabout emissions were lowerUnlike intersections with stop lights that have fixed time intervals, even for high-traffic volumes,

Salt Lake City has added more roundabouts to its roads in recent years, including at 1100 East & 900 South, 2100 South & Interstate 80. But the goal has not been to reduce carbon emissions, Jon Larsen from the city’s Transportation division stated.

Larsen said that we should spend more time on transportation that reduces emissions. He also suggested that streets should be more friendly for cyclists and pedestrians.

Salt Lake City must begin to convert busy intersections, where cars swarm into roundabouts, to reduce emissions. Larsen stated that roundabouts are not more complicated than one or two lanes due to American drivers’ expectations.

Sides, who frequently visits Utah to ski, stated that it is difficult to replace lighted intersections in downtown neighborhoods. Existing buildings occupy some of the space needed for larger infrastructure projects.

Larsen stated that Salt Lake City will not be a leader in roundabouts anytime soon. However, the city still plans to build more of them. This plan could face some serious opposition.

Larsen stated that there are both people who are pro roundabouts and those who are against them.

Sides stated that roundabouts are generally opposed by about two-thirds, but that once construction is complete, they are preferred by around two-thirds.

Roundabout in the 9th and 9th

It can be difficult to navigate intersections where more than two streets intersect, so they are a good candidate for a roundabout. For example, 900 South and 1100 east intersect with Gilmer Street. This creates a five-point intersection.

The Salt Lake Tribune) The roundabout at 900 South 1100 East in Salt Lake City on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021.| The Salt Lake Tribune) The roundabout at 900 South 1100 East in Salt Lake City on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021.

Larsen stated that there were not many elegant solutions to the problem other than a circular drive.

The roundabout, along with others in the city’s, provides green space and hosts public art. However, the Out of the Blue sculpture has been controversially planned there.

Bridget Geyer, owner and operator of The Bridal Studio at 1085 E.900 South is one of the sculptures’ opponents. She doesn’t dislike art, she said. But because she believes the 40-foot whale tail will further obscure the view of drivers entering this roundabout.

She said that the roundabout is better than any complicated intersection, but she still sees many close calls every day as drivers almost collide with each other.

They aid traffic flow, Geyer said about roundabouts. I don’t know if drivers ed teaches them about them. here.

She stated that people don’t know how to use them.


Roundabouts are still very rare in the U.S., especially when compared with countries like France or Australia. This is why some drivers have difficulty approaching them.

Engineers report even though more fender-bender crashesRoundabout crashes are usually less severe than those at lighted intersections.

Vehicles will hit each other in a roundabout at 45 degrees, instead of hitting one another in an intersection. This is because they are more likely to glance off than stop one another.

Sides stated that there is a huge opportunity to reduce fatal intersection crashes.

Crash rates are also affected by speed. High-speed collisions are less likely when vehicles are driving around a bend. roundabout.

According to the study, accidents involving fatalities and injuries were reduced by 78% when roundabouts were used in place of light-colored intersections. Federal Highway Administration. Crash rates were reduced by 82% at intersections where two-way stops were replaced with roundabouts.

The Salt Lake Tribune) This roundabout connects 2300 East, Vimont Avenue and I-80 in Salt Lake City.| The Salt Lake Tribune) This roundabout connects 2300 East, Vimont Avenue and I-80 in Salt Lake City.

Sides stated that there is no other project that a transportation engineer could work on that would save more lives.

Larsen stated that older roundabouts can be more difficult for cyclists and pedestrians to cross. However, the city focuses on creating roundabouts with safe crossings.

  1. Slow down as you approach;

  2. Crosswalk pedestrians or cyclists with care.

  3. Merge into a roundabout

  4. Two seconds to signal your departure from the roundabout

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