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Greener Cars Reduce EmissionsForty-five percent of all accidents on the road occur when drivers speed through a traffic light.

A remedy to this staggering statistic is converting highly accident prone intersections to traffic circles. This requires automobile owners to drive at slower speeds. It’s proven to reduce accidents by 90%.

The development of a traffic circle requires a number of considerations to be taken into account ranging from current infrastructure, community response and accident rate.

The ideal location of a traffic circle depends on the volume of community requests or a high accident rate. The decision to construct one depends on the number of accidents in a give time period (ranging from 3 – 5 years), traffic speed and traffic volume. The higher the outcome, the more chances a traffic circle will be built.

The construction of a traffic circle can easily fit into the existing area of an intersection, with little expansion onto surrounding area. The the size of the traffic circle should be in relative proportion to the roadway. If it is too big, there will be more cars on the roadway, and a higher chance of accidents. If it is too small, the traffic will build up, having no way to manage itself.

The diameter of the traffic circle can be easily altered to fit into any area. For it to be efficient, a circle should range from 15 to 30 feet depending on traffic flow. An ideal intersection for the change ranges from 20 to 50 feet which can easily fit a traffic circle.

A traffic circle costs more to construct than traffic light intersections, but the lower maintenance expense makes up for it. The price tag of a traffic circle includes the removal of road pavement and the building of new roadway. The average cost is $250,000. After the construction phase, there is no operational cost and little maintenance needed. A conventional traffic intersection costs much less to build, but over its lifespan costs about $150,000 to operate.

The normal intersection seems to be dirty and an eyesore to everyone. There are rarely any intersections in the country that are perceived to be beautiful. In the middle of a traffic circle is a segment of land that has two important roles, making the circle more attractive to drivers and the community, and altering the character of the road to make it less appealing to drive fast. The center of the traffic circle only requires occasional maintenance and brings a sense of community and beauty to the area.

Traffic circles help drivers reduce emissions and save money on gas. Instead of stopping at a stop sign or idling at a traffic light, traffic circles keep cars moving at a constant speed. By staying a constant speed, automobiles use less gas and emit lower levels of carbon dioxide. In a recent study, after the installation of a traffic circle in place of an intercetion recued carbon monozide emissions by 29 percent and nitrious oxide by 21 percent. In Virginia, a study of traffic circles over a year found that replacing traffic signals can reduce fuel consumption by about 30 percent, saving more than 200,000 gallons of fuel per year.

Do you know of an intersection near your that would work better as a traffic circle?

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet