Wednesday, August 1, 2007


No specific mention of Loudoun County, but here's a story from Hank Silverburg with WTOP Radio about "Roundabouts," an idea prevalent in Europe and parts of New England that traffic engineers believe could work in the suburbs. (Look to the left side of the WTOP page for a link to the audio version of the story if you'd like to hear it.)

The story says that "The Virginia Department of Transportation has spear-headed an effort to research and create traffic circles, also known as roundabouts, for the region. There are already 35 traffic circles in Virginia, with another 26 in the works. Laura Southard, spokeswoman for VDOT, says these traffic circles will be placed in strategic areas and would be built at 'smaller intersections.'"

So what are Roundabouts? VDOT explains that Roundabouts differ from the old, larger traffic circles in three ways:
  • A roundabout is generally smaller in diameter, requiring slower speeds.
  • At roundabouts, the entering traffic yields the right of way to the circulating traffic. This "yield-at-entry" rule keeps traffic from "locking up."
  • The splitter and center islands of a roundabout deflect entering traffic and encourage drivers who should yield to do so.
VDOT even has a Web page with online audio and video about roundabouts that will be incorporated into future driver's education classes and more information.

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