Light Wouldn't Solve Circle Issue
In response to a recent Pilot website poll question about what to do with landscaping at the Pinehurst Traffic Circle, some advocated replacing the circle with a traffic light.
This would be a mistake. The improved traffic flow that results from reduced delays and vehicle stops helps to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. It is also safer.
Most accidents that occur at intersections are right-angle, left-turn or head-on collisions. These tend to be at relatively higher speeds and to be the most severe. With traffic circles, these types of crashes are reduced because vehicles are traveling in the same direction. Circles reduce the likelihood and severity of rear-end crashes by removing the incentive for drivers to speed up as they approach green lights and by reducing abrupt stops at red lights.
Accidents that do occur at circles generally involve vehicles merging or entering into the circular roadway, with both vehicles traveling at lower speeds.
Safety is also increased for pedestrians. If it is necessary for pedestrians to cross, the crossing distances are shorter, and they only cross one direction of traffic at a time.
Aesthetically, I would choose to look at a tree, plant, bush or flower over more asphalt and traffic lights.
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