Roundabout Boom: Are they helping or hurting?

Posted at 6:00 PM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-21 18:25:30-04

The roundabout at Fourteen Mile and Orchard Lake Road was a project years in the making, with a hefty price tag. But does it work?

"Its a big learning curve for some people," says Craig Bryson with the Oakland County Road Commission

It has been nearly a year since the mega-roundabout was completed, and the 7 Investigators wanted officials to answer one question: Has it delivered on its promise?

"You get through peak rush hour much more quickly than you would have before," added Bryson.

When we asked about collisions, "There is a slight increase in fender benders," he says.

That's something that's not uncommon following the instillation of a roundabouts our research shows. But data also shows serious crashes, like ones that can lead to fatalities, are down.

"Its a good tradeoff versus death or serious injury," says Bryson.

That's because experts say most fatal collisions involve head on or t-bone impacts - something virtually eliminated in a intersection with a roundabout.

Down the road near 10 Mile and Evergreen in Southfield is another roundabout that was completed more than a year ago. It promised a 35 percent reduction in all crashes and a higher reduction in serious ones.

The city says they have no data yet to give us a before and after comparison. Frustrating maybe, but Bryson says it can often take far longer to see trend worthy evidence.  

"A couple years gives us a good data set to look at," he says, because of that driver learning curve.

Until then, expect continued honks and occasional confusion. But likely, it appears, a safer ride for all.