A-Z Challenge, Challenges by Sarah

R is for Roundabouts

Tourists often poke fun at Canberra’s apparent love of the humble roundabout but does the city really have more roundabouts than most?

In 2016, Roads ACT Director Tony Gill provided the hard numbers.

“Canberra has 406 roundabouts and 276 sets of traffic lights,” he said.

“Most of the roundabouts are in residential areas and most of the traffic lights are on the main road network.”

Number of roundabouts per capita:

• Canberra: 1,000 people per roundabout

• Melbourne: 1,200 people per roundabout

• Sydney: 1,600 people per roundabout

• Adelaide: 1,700 people per roundabout

Canberra has a long history with traffic circles. Academic in the field of urban design and architecture, Dr Cameron Gordon from the University of Canberra, explains.

“The traditional justification for roundabouts is safety,” he said.

“The thing road safety people are thinking about is – how do we design the safest intersections? And that’s two-fold, minimising accidents and when you have an accident, it’s less serious.”

Dr Gordon said that roundabouts are safer than other intersections, in part because they force drivers to slow down.

Source: ABC Canberra

So the bottom line is, Canberra does not have an exceptionally high number of roundabouts proportionate to its people. The primary function of roundabouts is for safety and traffic flow. As the newest and only purpose built city in Australia, this makes sense.

Perhaps Canberra’s poor roundabout reputation has less to do with the number of roundabouts, and more to do with the actual urban design which is unique and confusing to those not familiar with it?

Rainbow Roundabout, Braddon ACT

State Circle, Barton ACT

Signalised Barton Hwy Roundabout, Giralang ACT

A-Z Challenge – R

1 thought on “R is for Roundabouts”

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