Europe: The champion of roundabouts. Which country has the most? | Popgen Tech


Europe: The champion of roundabouts. Which country has the most?

This is the same country where traffic circles were first introduced

Driving in and out of a roundabout isn’t always the most pleasant task for drivers, but if you’re crossing more than two streets, solving that junction problem seems logical. Moreover, they are more sustainable as they reduce traffic jams and idling time, and therefore emissions.

Anyone who has driven in European cities may have noticed that roundabouts are part of the urban landscape there. And this should not be surprising, because it was on this continent that they were first introduced.

In fact, it happened at a place that most of you may be familiar with, the Place de l’Etoile which surrounds the Arc de Triomphe, one of the symbols of Paris. It means The Star Square, because of the 12 roads radiating from it, its shape dates back to even before the French Revolution.

It was also the site of the first carrefour à gyrations (or undulating crossroads) proposed by city architect Eugène Hénard, who concluded that with the increasing traffic on the streets of Paris, there was a need for a more rule-based intersection of major squares. So the first roundabout was officially inaugurated there in 1907 with the stipulation that vehicles on the right side have the right of way.

Traffic circles with rules were then quickly adopted by other European nations. Yet it is also France which holds the title for the most roundabouts on its territory. According to Statisticswhich used voluntary research as background, in 2020 there were 967 roundabouts per million inhabitants in that country. Spain is second with 591 roundabouts per million inhabitants and the UK is third with 489 per million.

Cities with the most roundabouts

Given how the French have embraced the roundabout concept most enthusiastically among other nations, one would expect that this is also where we would find the city with the most traffic circles. Almost. Nantes, in France, is a city where one out of every 23 intersections is a roundabout, making it number one in Europe.

However, it is the virtually unknown city of Carmel, in the state of Indiana (USA) that takes the cake in this ranking, where one out of every 17 road junctions is a traffic circle. It even calls itself the Roundabout Capital of the United States.

The rest of the top 10 list of roundabout-loving cities, however, are all filled with European municipalities. Here’s a look:

  1. Carmel (USA, 1 of 17 crosses)
  2. Nantes (France, 1 out of 23)
  3. Madrid (Spain, 1 out of 30)
  4. Alicante (Spain, 1 out of 33)
  5. Valencia (Spain, 1 out of 35)
  6. Seville (Spain, 1 out of 35)
  7. Toulouse (France, 1 out of 35)
  8. Bilbao (Spain, 1 out of 36)
  9. North Lanarkshire (UK, 1 out of 38)
  10. Venice (Italy, 1 out of 40)


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