Calling All First Responders: Input Requested on Roundabouts
Kimley-Horn, a national planning, design, and civil engineering firm, is conducting an independent review of the impact of roundabouts on first responders. The intent of this research is to gather roundabout-related feedback from fire departments and police departments from around the United States. The last time a survey of this kind was conducted was in 2005, and thousands of roudabouts have been built since. Thank you for taking a few minutes to provide your feedback and for your continued protection of our communities.
About the Survey
Nearly all communities use stop control and signalized intersections, but roundabouts are becoming more common throughout North America. Unlike traditional intersections, roundabouts place the responsibility for driving solely in the hands of the vehicle operator; there is no third-party equipment that tells the driver when to stop and when to go, instead leaving it up to the driver to identify a safe gap inside the intersection before proceeding. This can present challenges in communities with new roundabouts, such as educating drivers on safe roundabout operation and sharing research with local elected officials and community leaders.
Jay VonAhsen, P.E., a transportation engineer and roundabout specialist at Kimley-Horn, is looking to better understand how first responders such as police, firefighters, and EMTs feel about the roundabouts in their communities. First responders are often vocal champions in our communities, and so it is important to gauge the thoughts of these brave men and women across the U.S.
To better understand the impacts of roundabouts on first responders, we’ve organized this short survey. If you or someone you know is a first responder, please help us compile new research by completing and sharing this survey.
Evaluating the Survey Responses
Survey responses will be evaluated and will demonstrate how roundabouts are perceived in North America by our police and fire representatives. The short survey asks questions about respondents’ experiences with roundabouts that have replaced stop signs or traffic signals, perceived safety performance, public outreach and education, and whether the respondent would be willing to submit a testimonial (good or bad). Respondents have the option to opt-in to receive updates on the roundabout study. The feedback will be shared among North America roundabout engineers and planners to offer insights that can be used in communities new to roundabouts. Feedback provided can be used to answer questions they have about the ability for emergency responders to use roundabouts during a call for service.
Researchers are trying to understand how first responders view the addition of roundabouts to their community, and whether a roundabout is an impediment or an improvement. Some municipalities have concerns about large fire trucks traversing roundabouts or any delay that may be added by installing a roundabout versus a traffic signal.
A similar survey was conducted in 2005 that gathered several dozen written feedback forms; however, many of those communities were still new to their roundabout installations. Now that 15 years have passed, it is time for a widespread sampling of our first responders to better gauge if roundabouts are benefitting communities or having adverse impacts.