Pros and Cons of Roundabouts

Faiza Shaikh and Nikki Gomez

Pros: Nikki Gomez


With the recent construction of roundabouts around Milton, people question whether they’re necessary. Roundabouts are a circular intersection that is designed to promote efficient traffic flow. There are many pros and cons surrounding the topic of roundabouts. Overall, the pros compensate for the cons.

The Insurance Institute for Highway safety states, “Research shows that traffic flow improves following conversion of traditional intersections to roundabouts. Less idling, in turn, reduces vehicle emissions and fuel consumption.” Roundabouts are designed to promote a continuous flow of traffic. Unlike in intersections, where one waits for a green light, drivers in a roundabout have to yield to other drivers already in the circle. This allows drivers to get to their destinations quicker.

A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concluded that roundabouts reduced pedestrian collisions by 40 percent. The way the roundabout is designed makes it safer for pedestrians to cross because they only have to concentrate on one direction of traffic at a time.

Since roundabouts are relatively new, some drivers are in-experienced to driving around one. Many Americans are used to traffic signals and roundabouts require drivers to make their own decisions rather than relying on an electronic signal.

Some students like roundabouts. Senior Audrey Norris says, “I like roundabouts because they are more simple. Everything goes smoothly. I think they do improve traffic because you’re not required to come to a complete stop.” Roundabouts have proven that they are worth the expenses because they insure the continuity of drivers safety.


Cons:  Faiza Shaikh


Construction on roundabouts, as well as roundabouts themselves, have become a major headache for some citizens in Fulton County. In theory, roundabouts should to relieveflow of traffic that clogs up congested areas.  However, recently their construction has proven a dilemma for many drivers.

“Driving to and from school to drop off my younger daughter has become a headache,” says one Alpharetta resident. “There is major construction on Rucker and construction on Birmingham that has left the area looking horrible.” On the roundabouts themselves, .the resident  states, “They seem to make [driving]for teen drivers confusing. I don’t blame them, it’s hard to figure out where to turn if you aren’t an experienced driver.” The teen drivers agree: “I think they’re effective when people know how to navigate,” says student Jessi Rich.

However, many drivers that come across roundabouts don’t know how to use them, and this proves to be a nagging problem for the drivers that do. If a driver is not comfortable with a roundabout and does not know who actually has the right of way, they could cause confusion for drivers that do.

Other cons include the actual construction  of the roundabouts. They can take up to a year to make (though the average time is eight months), depending on the area and current traffic flow. This construction can heavily slow down traffic and become a major inconvenience  for motorists.

Additionally, “The big drawback for roundabout construction is the land cost, especially where [private land] must be purchased,” says Times Colonist’s Steve Wallace. “Costs to remove power poles and other obstacles to the smooth flow of roundabout  traffic are a big negative in the establishment of [efficient circular travel].”