An off-topic thread in alt.folklore.computers brought it to my attention that many Americans are calling traffic circles "roundabouts" these days.
I have always called them "traffic circles". In Massachusetts they are, or at least used to be, called "rotaries". It's been my impression that "roundabout" was a British usage.
Comments?

John Varela
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An off-topic thread in alt.folklore.computers brought it to my attention that many Americans are calling traffic circles "roundabouts" these days. ... are, or at least used to be, called "rotaries". It's been my impression that "roundabout" was a British usage. Comments?

Ah, what goes around comes around. As I passed under the flyover at the Hanger Lane Gyratory System again today, it made me think, as it always does, of Robin and a long-ago thread on this topic.

Laura
(emulate St. George for email)
John wrote on Thu, 20 Nov 2008 15:40:59 -0500:
I have always called them "traffic circles". In Massachusetts they are, or at least used to be, called "rotaries". It's been my impression that "roundabout" was a British usage. Comments?

I haven't heard anything but "traffic circles" around here and they are not very common except as devices to slow down traffic at suburban intersections but, for various reasons, I am familiar with the other names.

James Silverton
Potomac, Maryland
Email, with obvious alterations: not.jim.silverton.at.verizon.not
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
An off-topic thread in alt.folklore.computers brought it to my attention that many Americans are calling traffic circles "roundabouts" these days. ... are, or at least used to be, called "rotaries". It's been my impression that "roundabout" was a British usage. Comments?

I can't comment on the needs of AmE usage, but in general terms I suspect that "roundabout" is less closely tied in people's minds to geometrical circularity in spite of its fairground origin than "traffic circle". A lot of these features are far from circular. And, image-wise, "going round in a circle" when trying to get somewhere isn't generally felt to be a good thing.
Perhaps there's also a need to make a clear distinction from town bypasses or "distribution roads" called "ring roads" and "orbital roads" see the London North and South Circular, and, farther out, the M25, known as the "London Orbital".

Mike.
An off-topic thread in alt.folklore.computers brought it to my attention that many Americans are calling traffic circles "roundabouts" these days. ... are, or at least used to be, called "rotaries". It's been my impression that "roundabout" was a British usage. Comments?

Interesting.
It seems that Roundabouts are being introduced in the US. "Roundabout" is not an alternative name for a "traffic circle".
http://roundabout.kittelson.com /
This Web site serves as one of the definitive sources on Modern Roundabouts and is a complement to the Federal Highway Administration's research project aimed at developing a comprehensive guide to roundabouts design. The results of this project are contained in the book published by FHWA in August 2000; Roundabouts: An Informational Guide. http://www.tfhrc.gov/safety/00068.htm
Roundabouts are a common form of intersection control used throughout the world. However, many state and local agencies throughout the United States have been hesitant to install roundabouts due to a lack of objective nationwide guidelines on planning, performance, and design.

Prior to the development of Roundabouts: An Informational Guide, the few state and local agencies interested in roundabouts had to rely on foreign roundabout design guides, roundabout proponents, or in some states, statewide roundabout design guides. Roundabouts require strict conformance to standard practice to ensure safe, optimal operation, and this scattered approach to design can lead to inconsistencies at a national level which are consequential in terms of driver expectation and safety. To address this national need, the Federal Highway Administration selected a worldwide team of experts to develop Roundabouts: An Informational Guide.

Roundabouts: An Informational Guide addresses the following topics:

* Definition of a roundabout and what distinguishes roundabouts from traffic circles;
..
An overview of the document is at:
http://www.tfhrc.gov/safety/00068.pdf
The full document as a Self-Extracting Zip File (4,330KB) is at: http://www.tfhrc.gov/safety/roundabouts.zip

Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.english.usage)
An off-topic thread in alt.folklore.computers brought it to my=20 attention ... impression that "roundabout" was a British usage. =20 Comments? =20

Ah, what goes around comes around. As I passed under the flyover at the=20 Hanger Lane Gyratory System again today, it made me think, as it always=20 does, of Robin and a long-ago thread on this topic.

And now I'm thinking of Phil C. I wonder if he's roundabout. =20
Robin=20
(BrE)
Herts, England=20
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Ah, what goes around comes around. As I passed under ... does, of Robin and a long-ago thread on this topic.

And now I'm thinking of Phil C. I wonder if he's roundabout.

Posting in ucle only yesterday, it appears.
(ucle added, just for fun)

Laura
(emulate St. George for email)
* Definition of a roundabout and what distinguishes roundabouts from traffic circles;=20 .. An overview of the document is at: http://www.tfhrc.gov/safety/00068.pdf The full document as a Self-Extracting Zip File (4,330KB) is at: http://www.tfhrc.gov/safety/roundabouts.zip

I've looked at both of those and still am not clear as to the difference between roundabouts and traffic circles. To me, the difference in England (if there is one) is that roundabouts have a kerb on the central structure, which itself is usually much wider than any of the roads leading into it. A traffic circle is a minor bump or even painted circle in the centre of an intersection, smaller in width than the roads leading into it. The rule in England is always to give way to traffic on the roundabout/island/circle that is coming at you from your right, and the lead-in roads have a white line across the road to remind you.
=20
Robin=20
(BrE)
Herts, England=20
An off-topic thread in alt.folklore.computers brought it to my attention that many Americans are calling traffic circles "roundabouts" these days. ... are, or at least used to be, called "rotaries". It's been my impression that "roundabout" was a British usage. Comments?

True here. In some of the posher, older residential neighborhoods they're building these and calling them "roundabouts".

The Boston rotaries seem to be on major, high-traffic streets. Here, they are built in residential neighborhoods. Preferable to sleeping policemen.

Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
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