Evaluation of Safety and Mobility of Two-Lane Roundabouts

Principal Investigator(s):

John Hourdos, Former Research Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering


  • Stephen Zitzow, Former Research Specialist, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

When looking at measures of fatal and severe-injury crashes, roundabouts have demonstrated improved safety performance compared to traditional signalized intersections. Despite this, when it comes to less severe crashes, multilane roundabouts fail to provide a similar benefit. Previous research into this topic has identified behaviors that are associated with crashes in two-lane roundabouts, with yielding violations and turn violations generally being the largest contributors to crashes. This study sought to build on that work by expanding the data collection effort to include more sites and relate the frequency of individual behaviors to specific design features. Ultimately, four roundabouts were chosen for data collection and analysis, with two of them being full 2x2 roundabouts and the other two half 2x2. These locations were University Dr. S and 5th Ave. S in St. Cloud (half-2x2), 185th St. W and Kenwood Trail in Lakeville (full-2x2), and TH-22 and Adams St. (half-2x2) and TH-22 and Madison Ave. in Mankato (full-2x2). In the last two, changes in traffic control were implemented to reduce failure-to-yield crashes, and the study compared the driver behavior before and after the interventions. In general, the collective results show that the problems observed in the earlier site are present in all of the other sites with scale variations prompted by geometric and traffic control design elements. For example, in the St. Cloud roundabout, an increased rate of right-from-inner-lane turn violations were observed, which can be attributed to the sharper deflection angles present. Additionally, from the aforementioned roundabout as well as the one in Lakeville, it was concluded that turn violation rates are affected on the single or multilane geometry of the links approaching the roundabout. Single-lane roads result in fewer left-from-outer-lane violations. Overhead lane designation signs result in reduced turn violations similar to the earlier studies' interventions in the approach lane markings. Unfortunately, apart from confirming the trend, no successful design or intervention was discovered regarding yield violations.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2015007
  • Start date: 05/2014
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow