Officials: Roundabouts increase road capacity, safety

What's behind the rise in roundabouts

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – There was recently a list released of roundabouts with the highest number of crashes in Michigan and nine of the top 10 are in Metro Detroit.

Many people are asking if roundabouts are better and safer than the alternatives. Some people think roundabouts are easy, while other people think they’re frighting.

The No. 1 roundabout with the most number of crashes was at Orchard Lake Road at 14 Mile Road in Farmington Hills with 164 crashes.

The No. 2 roundabout with the most crashes was 18 1/2 Mile and Van Dyke Avenue in Sterling Heights with 153 crashes just in 2018.

So, why have roundabouts? For answers, Local 4 went to the Oakland County Road Commission, which has the most roundabouts in the entire state.

They said the first answer is traffic capacity. A roundabout increases capacity 30 to 50 percent, without widening the road. The second reason is safety.

Local 4 pulled records from several policing agencies trying to categorize the kinds of crashes happening at roundabouts. What we found was there are a lot of crashes with property damage, minor damage, disabling damage and sometimes injuries. But there are very few fatal accidents.

Road Commissions are aware there are going to be fender-benders, and they’re OK with that. There have been dozens of roundabout safety and studies found roundabouts bring a 75 percent reduction in serious injury crashes and a 90 percent reduction in fatal crashes.

Watch the video above for the full report.

About the Authors:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.