It’s time for me to shout from the rooftops who my one, true love is: I love you, traffic circles!
While traveling around the UK for the last four months, whenever I’ve seen a traffic circle, I can’t help but wish that this was another thing the US would import from the UK. They’re far more likely to be used when building roads here and I love that about the Brits!
The US has “…only 90 roundabouts per 100,000 miles of paved road, while… the U.K. has a mind-boggling 10,200.”
Traffic circles offer the opportunity for drivers to interact with each other and flow together, verses a traffic light intersection where you’re taught to sit down, shut up, and do what you’re told.
With a traffic circle, at worst, you’re going to have to wait a few seconds before you continue your journey, whereas with a traffic signal, you could wait one, or even TWO traffic light cycles!
Because traffic circles help automobiles get through an intersection 65% faster, they’ll be off the road and to their destination faster. This creates three more benefits of traffic circles that we can all rejoice in, especially environmentalists: less air pollution, better fuel economy, and lower gas costs.
According to one study:
On average, carbon monoxide emissions decreased by 33%; carbon dioxide (which accounts for far and away the largest percentage of America’s pollution) is reduced by an astounding 46%. Other gasses (nitrogen oxide, and hydrocarbons) are cut by one-third, and one-half, respectively.
Do you pay taxes? Well, traffic circles save taxpayers an average of $8,000/year!
Most importantly, traffic circles save lives! According to at least one study, you’re 90% less likely to die in a traffic circle as you would be in an intersection with a traffic light or a stop sign. Traffic circles force drivers to slow down and pay attention to what they’re doing.
As with so many problems, the source of this one is clear: the government. They are the ones responsible for almost all the roads in the US.
To see how we can achieve safer, faster commutes, let’s teleport together to a beautiful, futuristic world where all roads are privatized. The private road owners would want more people to use their roads, just like a restaurant owner wants more patrons.
Let’s say you owned a road and your customers started to notice that, if they used your road, they were more likely to be in a traffic jam and be late for work, school, or simply that they start to notice they’re wasting their lives away in their cars. At some point, many of them are going to start looking for alternatives. If your competition has solved these problems by putting in traffic circles, overpasses, tunnels, and other solutions that make their roads a more attractive option for commuting, you’re going to start losing profits, you’ll have to start laying off workers, and eventually, you’ll be out of business.
For a more specific observation regarding safety concerns, consider that Walmart, McDonalds, JCPenny’s, and all other business have incentives to not want people to die on their properties, whether through their fault or not. However, the government has absolutely no incentive to care if you die on their roads. Neither the government, nor the individuals that are employed by it, will face any penalty whatsoever for any death, injury, or damage to any property that was due to their negligence or incompetence.
Private road owners would also have incentives to fix their potholes faster, make their roads cheaper, and build them to last longer.
Whether we live in the future and have privatized roads, or the backwards present-day life where taxpayers are forced to pay for the roads, one thing is glaringly obvious to me, and I want it to be for you, too: Traffic circles are an excellent example of how freedom works better than government.
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