Do you think Roundabouts are better for the environment than Traffic lights?

Why is it that Traffic lights are still being installed at the majority of junctions around Darwin? I think it is because they are fairly cheap to set up; converge the roads, jam a pole in the ground and wire it up, presto, traffic control. Well, here are some reasons I think this is bad road design.

  • Roundabouts although more costly to install will pay off in the long run due to savings in wear and tear on vehicles, savings on fuel, savings on accident expenditure i.e rescue, hospital and rehab.
  • Roundabouts allow traffic to flow better, there is no stop start, accidents are generally lower speed collisions which are glancing blows not full on high speed T-bones type crashes as seen at roundabouts.
  • The cost of fuel every day for large groups of vehicles and trucks stopping dead at Traffic Lights and then having to get that mass moving again would add up to a staggering cost to individuals and the environment.
  • With Traffic Lights whenever there is power cut police have to be deployed to control the junction.
  • Traffic lights create waves of pent up drivers lane swapping and racing to beat the next set. This adds to commuter stress, is this really a good way to start the day?
  • During off-peak times the side roads are set to trigger the main road. So one car arriving at the side road (remember this car has to slow for the junction anyway) will trigger the lights on the main highway bringing four or more high speed travelling vehicles to a complete stop! if this was a¬†roundabout the faster cars would need to slow to negotiate the junction, not stop dead! And the car from the side road could feed in when appropriate.

I really think road planners should be challenged over the rampant use of Traffic lights, yes they are cheap to install but are they really cheaper in the long Run. What do you think?

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