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Executive Summary


Based on the safety assessment, operational analyses and costing exercise for the intersection at Florida Avenue and Philo Road, the preferred alternative is a roundabout according to life-cycle cost and cost benefit considerations. The modern roundabout would reduce collisions sufficiently to generate a benefit to cost ratio of 1.67. The potential collision reduction saving to society could justify the added $550,000 construction cost of a roundabout. This conclusion is independent of the City’s assessment of budget priorities or the network screening of City-wide collision history. The network screening of collision-prone locations does not show this intersection as being a high priority for collision reduction countermeasures.

The safety assessment of the intersection accounts for collision reduction potential of a modern roundabout versus traffic signals. A modern roundabout provides a safety benefit by having the potential to reduce injury collisions by 53%, from 0.76 per year to 0.35 per year. The total number of collisions is predicted to be reduced by 18%, from 4.13 collisions per year to 3.37 collisions per year. Whereas, a very slight collision reduction associated with improved visibility of adjusted signal head placements is considered inconsequential to the safety prediction results. In this case the type of collision mitigated by improved signal head placement, mainly rear-ends, is not over-represented by a history of injury class collisions. In 2010 there were two reported angle collisions causing injuries, but over the six year history this does not indicate an over-representation of collisions susceptible to reduction through improved signal head placement. Thus, the modern roundabout would create an environment with fewer potential traffic conflicts.

While both the signalized alternative and the modern roundabout alternative will operate with acceptable levels of delay, the modern roundabout will generate fewer stops and less queuing delay. The cost of time associated with delay is also reduced using a modern roundabout. This translates into improved air quality around the intersection.

The single lane modern roundabout can be designed to accommodate vulnerable road users, meeting draft U.S. Access Board criteria for accessibility. A traffic signal equipped with audible signal indications for pedestrians could better accommodate the visually impaired, but research into crossing times and waiting times indicates that modern roundabout will generate less delay for all pedestrians. A modern roundabout would also have advantages in terms of environmental factors, conditions for other road users, speed control and aesthetics.

Based on the evidence in this study, but apart from City budgeting and prioritization, a modern roundabout can be justified to replace the existing traffic signal with the goal of improving safety and efficiency.


This study examines and compares alternative types of traffic control for the intersection of the Philo Road and Florida Avenue in the City of Urbana, Illinois. The alternatives being considered are to:

Upgrade the existing traffic signals to meet current standards and lane configuration; or,

Install a modern roundabout. (The term roundabout and modern roundabout are interchangeable.)

Construction work associated with a roundabout would include reconstructing the existing concrete pavement of the intersection approaches. In addition, minimal right-of-way acquisition (less than 100 square feet) would be required to accommodate the roundabout.

The subject intersection is scheduled for improvement, as the serviceable life of the existing signals has been reached. The City of Urbana is exploring whether the money allocated for the new traffic signals might be used more effectively by installing a modern roundabout. This could potentially improve safety and reduce congestion at this location.

The alternative of maintaining the existing signals is not acceptable since the traffic signal equipment is in need of upgrading and does not meet the standards of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

Site Conditions

The intersection has a total daily entering traffic volume of 15,100 vehicles based on a December 2010 count. The east/west lanes of Florida Avenue have an average daily traffic flow of approximately 5,700 vehicles, while the north/south lanes of Philo Road have an average daily flow of approximately 9,400 vehicles.

Large semi-trucks with trailers up to 53 feet in length routinely use the intersection to make deliveries to two large grocery stores, three gas stations, and other commercial businesses south of Florida Avenue. Transit busses use the intersection from two directions with bus stops located on the northeast and southwest corners of the intersection. The intersection currently operates under traffic signal control, and is equipped with emergency pre-emption devices. There is a City of Urbana fire substation approximately 0.75 mile south of the intersection on Philo Road.

Pedestrian crossing flow is relatively low for an urban area with crossing frequency in the range of 5 to 15 pedestrians per hour. A senior citizen high-rise facility is located at the northeast corner of the intersection. Extended pedestrian phases have been used with the pedestrian signals to assist in providing adequate crossing times for senior citizens. In addition to senior citizens, other pedestrian concerns include people with mobility and vision impairments. The City of Urbana has provided information about the possibility of a modern roundabout at the intersection of Florida Avenue and Philo Road to the local PACE group (Persons Assuming Control of their Environment), and will continue to discuss with PACE any concerns or questions in regards to modern roundabouts.

There is one person with visual impairments who uses the intersection daily in the warmer months, and depending on the destination, may need all four intersection crossings. There are also several more individuals with impaired cognitive skills and/or low-vision, which will require training in the use of the pedestrian facilities of a modern roundabout. There are also eight individuals with hearing impairments that may use the intersection occasionally.

The intersection is somewhat isolated from other signalized intersections, with the closest signal being located at Philo Road and Scovill Street, which is approximately one mile south of the subject intersection. Between Scovill Street and Florida Avenue, there is a major 4-way stop intersection at Colorado Avenue and Philo Road, which City staff report as experiencing delays in the PM peak hour due to the reduced southbound through lanes.

The posted speed on Philo Road in the vicinity of Florida Avenue is 35mph. Left turn lanes are provided for traffic in all directions at the intersection. Florida Avenue has a posted speed limit of 30mph near this intersection. Design speeds for both streets will be consistent with the posted speed limits.

Major considerations for the selected type of intersection control include the needs of vulnerable users from the nearby facility that serves six (6) people with various disabilities. Some initial concerns and observations of installing a modern roundabout at this location also include the ability of the roundabout geometrics to manage the truck traffic adequately without major right-of-way acquisition.

Design Concepts

The layout of a single-lane roundabout addresses the existing right-of-way constraints (see Figure 1). The layout has an inscribed circle diameter (ICD) of 125 feet. The conceptual layout was developed to the extent necessary to illustrate how a single-lane roundabout could be constructed within the existing right-of-way, while accommodating the necessary design vehicle, and to develop reasonable estimates of cost for comparison with the signalized alternative. The design vehicle used for this intersection is a tractor-trailer combination with a 53ft. Trailer.

Traffic capacity analysis for the signalized intersection configurations indicated the existing lane configuration and geometry could remain as is, and would not require physical or geometric modification to reasonably accommodate the projected 2031 traffic demands. The signalized intersection lane configuration is one through lane, a bicycle lane and exclusive left turn lanes in each direction. Refer to Figure 3 for the alternative signalized intersection layout proposed for the subject intersection.

Study Results

Collision history at this location is moderate. Crash data collected for the recent six-year period indicated a total of 28 accidents with 6 injuries. The injury frequency for the recent six year period is approximately 1.0 injury crashes per year. The collision rate is 0.86 collisions per million vehicles entering the intersection. [This rate is determined using the average frequency of total collisions per year (28 collisions divided by 6 years = 4.73) with the average daily traffic of 15,100 vehicles or 5,511,500 vehicles per year]. This rate for a four leg signalized intersection indicates safety performance is not poor enough to justify collision countermeasures when compared with other intersections of similar traffic demands. Generally, a collision rate of 1.0 collision per million entering vehicles, or greater, justifies further investigation. The majority of collisions are turning movement or rear-end. The injury class collisions were of the following types: angle, pedestrian and single vehicle.

Findings in terms of safety performance, operational performance, and capital and life cycle costs are summarized below. The overall comparison indicates that although the roundabout will cost more initially, it will recover the societal value of the works with collision reduction, reduced emissions, reduced delay and improved safety for all users. These results are independent of the City’s assessment of budget priorities based on the network screening of City-wide collision history.

Summary of Operational, Safety and Cost Evaluation




Evaluation Criteria




Annual Injury Crashes



$920,000 lower using a roundabout

Peak Hour Level of Service (LOS) by 2031 (AM/PM)

B / B Good/Good

A / B Excellent/Good

Roundabout improves efficiency

Capital Cost



$550,000 in favor of a traffic signal

Capital plus Life Cycle Cost



$370,000 in favor of a roundabout

In terms of total cost (capital, injury and life cycle costs), the preferred intersection control alternative is a roundabout by a margin of $370,000 over the 20 year useable life of the improvements.