Roundabouts are a traffic solution that has been used for a long time, but through Vision Zero their importance for road safety has been accentuated. They have a traffic calming effect, and the consequences of a collision there are less severe.
Roundabouts are to an increasing extent replacing traffic lights at intersections. Roundabouts slow down the traffic rhythm. If collisions do occur, their consequences tend to be less serious than they would have been at a traditional road crossing due to the different angles of impact and lower speeds.
The choice between traffic lights or a roundabout at an intersection, is an illustration of the new view of road safety work that was introduced by Vision Zero. The main problem is not that accidents occur – it is instead whether the accidents lead to death and lifelong injury:
- If the key objective is to reduce the number of accidents, then traffic lights are the best solution. There will be fewer accidents, but those that do happen often result in serious injury.
- If the key objective is to avoid serious injuries, a roundabout will provide better results. There will probably be more accidents, but the injuries will mostly be minor.