Sunday, February 18, 2007

Here and there: roundabouts and traffic circles

Roundabouts are different from traffic circles. Since it confuses me, I'm just gonna use the term roundabout for both.

The number of roundabouts in Kuala Lumpur is much more than I've ever experienced or imagined. Especially the roundabouts without traffic lights. Not the one like in Jakarta's HI or Monas roundabout. (there are also traffic-light-less roundabouts in Jakarta, like at the intersection of Jalan Senopati and Jalan Rajasa.)

If I remember correctly, there's no roundabout in Ann Arbor, while only one in Durham.

Going to work, a 20-minute drive, I could pass one to four roundabouts in the past quarter of the drive only, depending on how the traffic on the highway that day. At busy times (like lunch hour or morning), these roundabouts are extremely problematic. Frustrating. Traffic is stuck around the island.

If this happens in KL, imagine how it will be in Jakarta.

Since the traffic-light-less roundabouts depend on the "yield" or "give way" sign, and in this part of the world most people don't really obey the sign, this type of roundabouts is not suitable anymore in high traffic areas.

Will traffic lights help? Perhaps a bit, to ensure less interruption to the circling traffic. But high traffic is high traffic, unless either the number of cars is reduced or the medium of cards is increased -- to reduce the density.

For now, I guess I should be thankful the traffic is comparatively not that bad.