Roundabouts of Placer County Keeping roads safe, efficient and green

Placer County is continuously striving to find innovative ways that improve residents’ and visitors’ transportation experience. For high-traffic areas, studies show that roundabouts are the safest, economical and most efficient way to keep traffic moving. Learn more about why roundabouts are often Placer County’s option of choice when it comes to transportation planning.

Roundabouts are the safer choice

Intersections can be the most dangerous part of roads for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. Roundabouts reduce the number possible collision points in an intersection.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, areas with roundabouts have seen a reduction of collision rates by 36% and serious injuries from collisions by 83%. Pedestrians and cyclists greatly benefit from roundabouts due to decreased conflict points, wider sidewalks or bike lanes and slower vehicle speeds. A Kansas State University study shows that pedestrian collisions were reduced around 58% in roundabouts compared to other intersections.

Roundabouts are the most efficient and green option

Roundabouts are often more efficient and environmentally-friendly than traffic signals and stop signs. At a roundabout, drivers only have to stop if there is another vehicle in the roundabout, compared to a stop sign where drivers always have to stop. Reducing the need to stop and start at intersections cuts time spent idling by as much as 38%, leading to 68% less greenhouse gases emitted by motorists.

Roundabouts cost less

Roundabouts are also economical, with lower long-term costs than traffic signals. While the cost of constructing a roundabout is similar to a stop light, the long-term maintenance, electricity and repair costs of a roundabout are significantly lower. Roundabouts, due to their overall efficiency, also qualify more easily for many grants, which saves local taxpayers millions annually.

Planning roundabouts in Placer County

Placer County has recently seen the completion of the two roundabouts in Kings Beach with a third in the planning stages. Tahoe City also has two recently-completed roundabouts and one in planning. Another roundabout at Interstate 80 and Bell Road is scheduled to begin construction in 2022. Placer County is continuously identifying high traffic intersections in need of a renovation to keep up with current and future traffic demands, with roundabouts an increasingly important option as new projects are being developed.

Story produced by

Placer County Communications and Public Affairs

Author: Nathan Gardner

Photography: Erik Bergen

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Eric Bergen