Washtenaw County Road Commission Seeks Public Input on Roundabouts

 04/12/2016 - 15:36
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On Monday, April 4, the Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC) launched a Roundabout User Questionnaire. The goal of the questionnaire is to collect the community’s opinion and experiences traveling the county’s roundabouts.  The roundabout questionnaire was developed with support from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Results will be shared with FHWA at a later date. The questionnaire will remain open to untilMonday, May 2, 2016.

(Online questionnaire: http://bit.ly/RoundaboutQuestionnaire

Hard-copy versions of the questionnaire are available at the Road Commission’s office located at 555 N Zeeb Road in Ann Arbor, and available on their website to download and return by mailhttp://bit.ly/roundaboutquestionnairePDF)

The insights gathered from the questionnaire may be used by WCRC and FHWA to enhance design features of roundabouts. Additionally, WCRC may use the information gathered to develop education materials to help the traveling public understand how to travel safely through the roundabouts.

The Washtenaw County Road Commission maintains 15 roundabouts throughout the county. Three more are planned for construction over the next two years. Many of the county’s roundabouts have been funded by federal safety or emission reduction grants. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, roundabouts have been proven to be one of the safest intersections available—providing a 39% reduction in total crashes and a 90% reduction in serious injury/fatal accidents.

In addition to the safety benefits, roundabouts can also reduce traffic delays, provide better fuel consumption for drivers and reduced air pollution.

Despite the reported benefits, the Road Commission does receive feedback from some users who find roundabouts uncomfortable, confusing and/or unsafe. The Road Commission wants to learn more about users’ experiences, both positive and negative, so they can look towards improving future roundabout designs and develop useful education materials.

“We receive a good amount of feedback, both positive and negative, about the county’s roundabouts. Many residents have shared suggestions on how we can improve the design and better educate the public. We developed a questionnaire because we thought it would be the best tool to gather the community’s suggestions and learn more about their experiences,” said Sheryl Soderholm Siddall, Director of Engineering at the Washtenaw County Road Commission.

The Washtenaw County Road Commission emphasized that the questionnaire would not serve as a public vote on whether or not the agency will continue building roundabouts.

“We will still select and apply for federal grants at intersections where roundabouts make sense and will improve safety and/or congestion. The results of this questionnaire will serve to inform how we select designs and educate the community when roundabouts do make sense,” said Siddall.

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