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TrafficRotaries

TrafficRotaries
LecturenotesinTrafficEngineeringAndManagement
Date:August5,2014

Overview
Rotaryintersectionsorroundaboutsarespecialformofatgrade
intersectionslaidoutforthemovementoftrafficinonedirectionarounda
centraltrafficisland.Essentiallyallthemajorconflictsatanintersection
namelythecollisionbetweenthroughandrightturnmovementsare
convertedintomilderconflictsnamelymerginganddiverging.Thevehicles
enteringtherotaryaregentlyforcedtomoveinaclockwisedirectionin
orderlyfashion.Theythenweaveoutoftherotarytothedesireddirection.
Thebenefits,designprinciples,capacityofrotaryetc.willbediscussedin
thischapter.

General
Advantagesanddisadvantages
Thekeyadvantagesofarotaryintersectionarelistedbelow:
1.Trafficflowisregulatedtoonlyonedirectionofmovement,thuseliminatingsevereconflictsbetween
crossingmovements.
2.Allthevehiclesenteringtherotaryaregentlyforcedtoreducethespeedandcontinuetomoveatslower
speed.Thus,noneofthevehiclesneedtobestopped,unlikeinasignalizedintersection.
3.Becauseoflowerspeedofnegotiationandeliminationofsevereconflicts,accidentsandtheirseverityare
muchlessinrotaries.
4.Rotariesareselfgoverninganddonotneedpracticallyanycontrolbypoliceortrafficsignals.
5.Theyareideallysuitedformoderatetraffic,especiallywithirregulargeometry,orintersectionswithmore
thanthreeorfourapproaches.

Althoughrotariesoffersomedistinctadvantages,therearefewspecific
limitationsforrotarieswhicharelistedbelow.
1.Allthevehiclesareforcedtoslowdownandnegotiatetheintersection.Therefore,thecumulativedelay
willbemuchhigherthanchannelizedintersection.
2.Evenwhenthereisrelativelylowtraffic,thevehiclesareforcedtoreducetheirspeed.
3.Rotariesrequirelargeareaofrelativelyflatlandmakingthemcostlyaturbanareas.
4.Thevehiclesdonotusuallystopatarotary.Theyaccelerateandexittherotaryatrelativelyhighspeed.
Therefore,theyarenotsuitablewhenthereishighpedestrianmovements.
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Guidelinesfortheselection
Becauseoftheabovelimitation,rotariesarenotsuitableforevery
location.Therearefewguidelinesthathelpindecidingthesuitabilityofa
rotary.Theyarelistedbelow.
1.Rotariesaresuitablewhenthetrafficenteringfromallthefourapproachesarerelativelyequal.
2.Atotalvolumeofabout3000vehiclesperhourcanbeconsideredastheupperlimitingcaseanda
volumeof500vehiclesperhouristhelowerlimit.
3.Arotaryisverybeneficialwhentheproportionoftherightturntrafficisveryhightypicallyifitismore
than30percent.
4.Rotariesaresuitablewhentherearemorethanfourapproachesorifthereisnoseparatelanesavailable
forrightturntraffic.Rotariesareideallysuitediftheintersectiongeometryiscomplex.

Trafficoperationsinarotary
Asnotedearlier,thetrafficoperationsatarotaryarethreediverging,
mergingandweaving.Alltheotherconflictsareconvertedintothesethree
lesssevereconflicts.
1.Diverging:Itisatrafficoperationwhenthevehiclesmovinginonedirectionisseparatedintodifferent
streamsaccordingtotheirdestinations.
2.Merging:Mergingistheoppositeofdiverging.Mergingisreferredtoastheprocessofjoiningthetraffic
comingfromdifferentapproachesandgoingtoacommondestinationintoasinglestream.
3.Weaving:Weavingisthecombinedmovementofbothmerginganddivergingmovementsinthesame
direction.

Thesemovementsareshowninfigure1.Figure1:Trafficoperationsinarotary

Itcanbeobservedthatmovementsfromeachdirectionsplitintothree
left,straight,andrightturn.
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Designelements
Thedesignelementsincludedesignspeed,radiusatentry,exitandthe
centralisland,weavinglengthandwidth,entryandexitwidths.Inaddition
thecapacityoftherotarycanalsobedeterminedbyusingsomeempirical
formula.Atypicalrotaryandtheimportantdesignelementsareshownin
figure2Figure2:Designelementsofarotary

Designspeed
Allthevehiclesarerequiredtoreducetheirspeedatarotary.Therefore,
thedesignspeedofarotarywillbemuchlowerthantheroadsleadingto
it.Althoughitispossibletodesignroundaboutwithoutmuchspeed
reduction,thegeometrymayleadtoverylargesizeincurringhugecostof
construction.Thenormalpracticeistokeepthedesignspeedas30and40
kmphforurbanandruralareasrespectively.

Entry,exitandislandradius
Theradiusattheentrydependsonvariousfactorslikedesignspeed,
superelevation,andcoefficientoffriction.Theentrytotherotaryisnot
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straight,butasmallcurvatureisintroduced.Thiswillforcethedriverto
reducethespeed.Theentryradiusofabout20and25metersisidealfor
anurbanandruraldesignrespectively.
Theexitradiusshouldbehigherthantheentryradiusandtheradiusoftherotaryislandsothatthevehicles
willdischargefromtherotaryatahigherrate.Ageneralpracticeistokeeptheexitradiusas1.5to2times
theentryradius.However,ifpedestrianmovementishigherattheexitapproach,thentheexitradiuscould
besetassameasthatoftheentryradius.
Theradiusofthecentralislandisgovernedbythedesignspeed,andtheradiusoftheentrycurve.The
radiusofthecentralisland,inpractice,isgivenaslightlyhigherradiussothatthemovementofthetraffic
alreadyintherotarywillhavepriority.Theradiusofthecentralislandwhichisabout1.3timesthatofthe
entrycurveisadequateforallpracticalpurposes.

Widthoftherotary
Theentrywidthandexitwidthoftherotaryisgovernedbythetraffic
enteringandleavingtheintersectionandthewidthoftheapproaching
road.Thewidthofthecarriagewayatentryandexitwillbelowerthanthe
widthofthecarriagewayattheapproachestoenablereductionofspeed.
IRCsuggeststhatatwolaneroadof7mwidthshouldbekeptas7mfor
urbanroadsand6.5mforruralroads.Further,athreelaneroadof
10.5mistobereducedto7mand7.5mrespectivelyforurbanandrural
roads.
Thewidthoftheweavingsectionshouldbehigherthanthewidthatentryandexit.Normallythiswillbeone
lanemorethantheaverageentryandexitwidth.Thusweavingwidthisgivenas,

(1)where

isthewidthofthecarriagewayattheentryand

isthecarriagewaywidthatexit.
Weavinglengthdetermineshowsmoothlythetrafficcanmergeanddiverge.Itisdecidedbasedonmany
factorssuchasweavingwidth,proportionofweavingtraffictothenonweavingtrafficetc.Thiscanbebest
achievedbymakingtheratioofweavinglengthtotheweavingwidthveryhigh.Aratioof4istheminimum
valuesuggestedbyIRC.Verylargeweavinglengthisalsodangerous,asitmayencourageoverspeeding.

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Capacity
Thecapacityofrotaryisdeterminedbythecapacityofeachweaving
section.Transportationroadresearchlab(TRL)proposedthefollowing
empiricalformulatofindthecapacityoftheweavingsection.

(2)where

istheaverageentryandexitwidth,i.e,

,
istheweavingwidth,
isthelengthofweaving,and

istheproportionofweavingtraffictothenonweavingtraffic.Figure3
showsfourtypesofmovementsataweavingsection,
and
arethenonweavingtrafficand
and
aretheweavingtraffic.Figure3:Weavingoperationinarotary

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Therefore,

(3)Thiscapacityformulaisvalidonlyifthefollowingconditionsare

satisfied.
1.Weavingwidthattherotaryisinbetween6and18meters.
2.Theratioofaveragewidthofthecarriagewayatentryandexittotheweavingwidthisintherangeof0.4
to1.
3.Theratioofweavingwidthtoweavinglengthoftheroundaboutisinbetween0.12and0.4.
4.Theproportionofweavingtraffictononweavingtrafficintherotaryisintherangeof0.4and1.
5.Theweavinglengthavailableattheintersectionisinbetween18and90m.

Numericalexample

Thewidthofacarriagewayapproachinganintersectionisgivenas15m.
Theentryandexitwidthattherotaryis10m.Thetrafficapproachingthe
intersectionfromthefoursidesisshowninthefigure4below.Findthe
capacityoftherotaryusingthegivendata.Figure4:Trafficapproachingtherotary

Solution
Figure5:Trafficnegotiatingarotary

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Weavingwidthiscalculatedas,w=

=13.5m
Weavinglength,liscalculatedas=4

w=54m
Theproportionofweavingtraffictothenonweavingtrafficinallthefourapproachesisfoundoutfirst.
Itisclearfromequation,thatthehighestproportionofweavingtraffictononweavingtrafficwillgivethe
minimumcapacity.LettheproportionofweavingtraffictothenonweavingtrafficinWestNorthdirection
bedenotedas

,inNorthEastdirectionas

,intheEastSouthdirectionas

,andfinallyintheSouthWestdirectionas

.
TheweavingtrafficmovementsintheEastSouthdirectionisshowninfigure6.Thenusingequation,

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ThustheproportionofweavingtraffictononweavingtrafficishighestintheEastSouthdirection.Figure
6:TrafficweavinginEastSouthdirection

Therefore,thecapacityoftherotarywillbecapacityofthisweavingsection.Fromequation,

(4)

Summary
Trafficrotariesreducethecomplexityofcrossingtrafficbyforcingthem
intoweavingoperations.Theshapeandsizeoftherotaryaredetermined
bythetrafficvolumeandshareofturningmovements.Capacity
assessmentofarotaryisdonebyanalyzingthesectionhavingthe
greatestproportionofweavingtraffic.Theanalysisisdonebyusingthe
formulagivenbyTRL.

References
1.L.RKadiyali.TrafficEngineeringandTransportationPlanning.KhannaPublishers,NewDelhi,1987.

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