What’s all the fuss about roundabouts?

Also, PBS RETRO REPORT to offer a "fresh perspective" on current events

  • Merideth Bucher/WITF

Pennsylvania is on track to install more roundabouts in the future, a somewhat new initiative.

Traffic circles are nothing new, in fact, they are fairly common throughout western Europe and in parts of the U.S. The “rotary” gained notoriety in a now-famous movie scene depicting a family vacationing in Paris who can’t figure out how to exit the circle once they are in it.

Traffic circles and roundabouts are not the same thing, though. Traffic circles are much larger than roundabouts and move at higher speeds. They are not very popular because they tend to cause driver confusion.

Roundabouts are becoming much more common, and safer, in the U.S. PennDOT data on 19 newly installed roundabouts on state routes show that they are safer and more efficient than a traditional four-way, traffic light intersection.

Roundabouts feature a circular intersection where drivers travel counterclockwise around a center island. There are no signals within the circle and drivers must yield to traffic before entering the intersection.

Sounds easy, right? Then why do so many drivers dislike the roundabout?

Joining Smart Talk on Monday to discuss the benefits and innovation of roundabouts is Jeff Bucher, Project Development Engineer & Roundabout Coordinator PA Department of Transportation.

Jeff Bucher

Justin Kocis

Jeff Bucher, Project Development Engineer & Roundabout Coordinator PA Department of Transportation, appear on Smart Talk, October 9, 2019.

Also, in today’s 24-hour news cycle, with breaking headlines, all-news networks and online outlets are all competing for viewer’s attention.

A new program on PBS aims to widen the discussion, revealing the story behind the story, and providing new insights into how today’s events have been shaped by the past.

RETRO REPORT on PBS is a one-hour magazine format series that premieres Monday and Tuesday. Appearing on Smart Talk to share insights into the program is Kyra Darnton, RETRO REPORT Executive Producer and veteran producer from CBS News and 60 Minutes.

Watch Retro Report on WITF Mondays and Tuesdays at 9pm through the month of October.  Programs are also available on-demand through the PBS app and on our website.


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