Thursday, September 23, 2021

PennDOT Touts Roundabout Safety Record

The roundabout at the intersection of Swamp Pike and Lewis Road in Limerick does not enough crash data for it to have been included in the latest PennDOT study.

Roundabouts, they're the traffic intersection Pennsylvanians love to hate.

But according to information released by PennDOT this week, they are considerably safer than traditional intersections.

Fatalities, injuries, and crashes decreased overall at 26 roundabouts at 23 locations in the time since they were built, according to department data.

Hopefully we won't get anything like this roundabout
in Ohio here in Pennsylvania any time soon.
“The modern roundabout is simply safer than the traditional intersection,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. 

“Though not the right option for every intersection, data shows that when installed, roundabouts save lives and reduce crash severity.”

PennDOT recently reviewed data for 26 roundabouts on state routes at intersections that were previously stop or signal controlled. These roundabouts were selected based on having at least three years of crash data available before and after the roundabouts were built. 

Locally, the roundabouts that were part of the study included:

Chester County

  • Route 0082 (Doe Run Road) and Unionville Road, opened in 2005,
  • Route 52 (Lenape Road), S. Wawaset Road and Lenape Unionville Road, opened in 2014,
  • Route 3062 (Strasburg Road), Romansville Road and Shadyside Road, Opened in 2017;

Montgomery County 

  • Route 0029 (Gravel Pike) and Route 0073 (Big Road), opened in 2009;  

Delaware County

  • Route 1023 (N. Newtown Street) and Route 1046 (St. Davids Road), opened in 2008;
  • Route 0320 (Chester Road), Rutgers Avenue and Fieldhouse Lane, opened in 2014;

PennDOT data based on police-submitted crash reports spanning the years 2000 through 2020 shows that fatalities at the locations in the study were reduced by 100 percent and the total number of crashes decreased by 22 percent. 

  • Suspected serious injuries were reduced by 81 percent;
  • Suspected minor injuries were reduced by 36 percent;
  • Possible/unknown severity injuries were reduced by 76 percent; and
  • Property damage-only crashes increased by 13 percent.
In addition to the 26 roundabouts meeting the selection criteria, 36 other roundabouts have been built on state routes with 19 more in construction and 20 in final design.

The most recent roundabout constructed in this area is the intersection of Swamp Pike, Ridge Pike and Lewis Road in Limerick.

Roundabouts are frequently installed to address intersections with safety issues but may also be installed to improve traffic flow as well as other reasons such as traffic calming, and to facilitate pedestrian mobility.

And we can expect to see more of them.

According to PennDOT, Roundabouts are recognized by the Pennsylvania State Transportation Innovation Council as an innovation that has become standard practice within the transportation community.


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