Sunday, September 23, 2018

Roundabouts to the Rescue--Creative Traffic Control Officer in Wilmington, NC

How roundabouts in hurricane/floods in the Carolinas came to the rescue in Wilmington, NC when the the electricity went out. How a creative traffic control officer—not an engineer--became a roundabout designer and cut one queue from five miles to about a half mile (about 1250 cars to 125 cars).

Note this video seems to work on some but not all browsers:

Text from North Carolina roundabout engineer Jim Dunlop, P.E., North Carolina Department of Transportation writing in the Roundabout Research listserv this week:
I thought it was the Wilmington traffic engineer.  Turns out it was a traffic enforcement officer from Wilmington.  He set up his patrol car in the middle of the intersection, to warn drivers to that the signal was out.  He then put a circle of cones around his vehicle to hopefully protect it.  After a while, he realized that drivers were treating it essentially as a roundabout.  So he set up lane closures to bring it to a single lane (with a right turn bypass!)  The aforementioned traffic engineer then took the idea and modified it a few times to make it work better.  They implemented it at two other intersections.  One of those had about a five mile backup which became about a ½ mile queue after the temp roundabout was implemented.

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