Driving Around in Circles Is a Good Thing

Modern Roundabouts
There are fewer potential collision points in modern roundabouts than with conventional traffic intersections.

Really, it is. So long as the circle you're driving in is a modern roundabout.

Unlike traditional roundabouts, rotaries or traffic circles, which can be terrifyingly large, complex and fast (Paris's Arc de Triomphe sits at the center of one such risky round roadway), modern roundabouts are smaller, simpler and slower.

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In fact, by making the streets that pass through neighborhoods slower and narrower, modern roundabouts help roads become safer for motorists and pedestrians. In the process, modern roundabouts help create a sense of place by enabling communities to become more walkable and bike-friendly, which is both good for people's health and local retailers ' profits.

All of those reasons are part of why, with a rebuild and redesign of a 1.7-mile section of Georgia's Buford Highway, the city of Suwanee is choosing to install a modern roundabout in its section of the state road and lower the speed limit from 45 to 30 mph.

To learn more about modern roundabouts, check out the Livability Fact Sheet: Modern Roundabouts by AARP Livable Communities and the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute.

To learn how to safely drive in a roundabout, watch this video from AARP Driver Safety.


To see an experiment that shows how a roundabout is more efficient at moving traffic than a traditional intersection with four-way stop signs, check out this video from the Discovery Channel show MythBusters.

- Roundabouts illustration provided by the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute


Melissa Stanton
Melissa Stanton is a project manager and editor on the AARP Livable Communities Team.

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