If you aren’t already familiar with this road sign, get to know it now. It might be coming to a roadway near you, because sustainable mobility goes beyond the type of car you drive, or what type of fuel you use. The impact of how we drive is equally as important to understand as any other aspect of the mobile carbon footprint. Any car can be more fuel efficient if it is driven properly.
A key aspect in making driving efficient is building efficient roadways. Several recent studies have been drawing attention to an unexpected way to reduce emissions: roundabouts. According to an article in the New York Times, a roundabout reduces emissions by 33% when compared to a conventional intersection with stop signs or traffic lights. Idling at an intersection wastes a surprising amount of fuel; idling for just two minutes consumes the same amount of gas as driving one mile. Roundabouts help reduce idling.
Not everyone, however, loves the idea of more roundabouts. They occur so infrequently that many people fear they do more harm than good. Because we aren’t used to them, people are automatically suspect of roundabouts. It brings to mind how having a global perspective means more than knowing how aspects of other cultures work, but familiarizing ourselves with them. What works for England can work here, too – we just have to keep an open mind. So the next time you see a roundabout, whether you are for or against them, go ahead and think to yourself “I just reduced my emissions by 33%” as you drive around the circle.