TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)- In 2018 both the Tapawingo Drive roundabouts were in the top five most crash-prone intersections in Tippecanoe County. Traffic planning experts and engineers say these numbers were surprising, however, they say roundabouts are still a safer option than traditional signalized intersections.
According to numbers released by the Area Plan Commission, Interstate 65 and South Street, Creasy Lane and South Street, and the State Street and Tapawingo Drive roundabout are the top three most accident-prone intersections in Tippecanoe County.
"The Tapawingo roundabouts, those have seen the most significant rise in crashes since they got converted to roundabouts," said Tim Stroshine, Assistant Director of Transportation Planning for Tippecanoe County
In 2018 the State Street and Tapawingo Drive roundabout had 55 crashes, which is more than double the number of crashes there in 2017. It ranked number three on the list behind Creasy Lane and South Street which had 59 crashes and Interstate 65 and South Street which had 72.
"Roundabouts are much safer in that the type of crashes that we see at roundabouts are not causing injuries," said Marcus Smith the Interim City Engineer for West Lafayette.
Even though roundabouts may be more crash-prone, experts say the intersections are safer since drivers travel at a lower rate of speed. Roundabouts are also more pedestrian-friendly, and that's a priority for West Lafayette moving forward.
"We want to make sure we are accommodating not just vehicles, but we are encouraging people who are riding bikes and are walking,” said Smith.
Even though there have been a large number of crashes at the two Tapawingo roundabouts, traffic planning experts say they are the best option for pedestrian-heavy areas.
"They do keep not only pedestrians safer but they keep drivers safer,” said Stroshine. “You are much less likely to see a fatality or a serious injury at an intersection with a roundabout than a traditional signalized intersection."
West Lafayette city engineers are looking into why there has been an increase in crashes at the Tapawingo roundabouts, but there are no changes set to take place at this time.