Why the World’s Urban Roads Are So Slow

Endurance and the cyclical nature of the world’s economy is why Roundabouts are designed so that they serve everyone’s needs. Buses turn twice as fast on roundabouts as on a multi-lane highway, so a safe intersection won’t strain motorists. Students benefit from the far shorter parking lots and buses that children don’t crowd onto. Professional drivers benefit from fewer stop lights and more attentive drivers.

Unfortunately, the population is roughly equal in the US and Britain, so Roundabouts don’t solve the problem of traffic congestion on either side of the pond. And the existing coverage that the device provides can be overwhelmed by nearby “piggybackers” on highways, so the importance of a good single lane loop configuration is magnified. Too often, the construction crews churn up pavement and cause the surrounding traffic to slow.

A Slow Drive

Sometimes all that work needs to be put on hold for a little while. That’s what happened for me in 2010 after California adopted a law requiring drivers to reduce their speeds at roundabouts: The law allowed I-405’s speed bumps to remain in place for the one week that the 8-mile stretch of highway across Los Angeles was closed for rebuilding. When they were finally removed, the speed limits started climbing quickly. But when the media called to ask if someone had gone over the speed limit, they could respond that nothing would have been done; those speed bumps were still in place.

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