MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) studied 144 roundabouts in Minnesota and found they are generally reducing serious injuries and fatal crashes in Minnesota.

Roundabouts are still relatively new to Minnesota, according to MnDOT Traffic Safety Engineer Derek Leuer.

Leuer worked on the study and says the first roundabouts were built in Minnesota in 1995, growing in popularity ever since.

There are nearly 200 roundabouts in Minnesota, which MnDOT says is about average among other states.

The study also shows there has not been a multi-vehicle fatality in a roundabout in Minnesota.

“The biggest objective is safety,” Leuer said.

Leuer says aroundabouts work because they force drivers to go in the same direction and slow down, eliminating the possibility of right-angle collisions, which are often the most severe or deadly.

Leuer said the study does not mean more roundabouts will be popping up, since each intersection must be decided on individually.

MnDOT also reports roundabouts cost the same or less to build or maintain compared to most traffic signals in areas with similar traffic flow.

  1. James Walker says:

    After a short learning curve period, roundabouts tend to reduce all crashes by about 50% and tend to reduce serious injury or fatal crashes by 80% to 90% because the high speed t-bone crash is almost impossible in a roundabout. Sometimes, roundabouts cost a little more to create than installing a traffic light, but they are less expensive in the long run with no electricity costs and lower overall maintenance costs. AND, modern roundabouts reduce fuel use, congestion, lost time, air pollution, noise pollution, wear on vehicles, etc. PLUS, authorities cannot enforce for profits with red light cameras at roundabouts.

    Europe embraced roundabouts long before the USA and it is one of the pleasures of driving there.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

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