Roundabouts are arguably the most efficient way of managing traffic at intersections. Even popular debunking Discovery Channel TV series, MythBusters, proved roundabouts reduce traffic by 20% compared to regular four-way intersections, Jaime and Adam being surprised there are so few roundabouts in the US considering their efficiency.
While the US is already known for preferring four-way intersections over roundabouts, car rental platform, DiscoverCars, set out to find “the roundabout capital of the world“. The team used OpenStreetMap to identify how many roundabouts each country has, ranking them not just by sheer numbers, but also by density across the territory and numbers per capita.
With a total of 42,986 roundabouts over the country, France takes the lead as the country with the most roundabouts in the world, even having 65% more roundabouts than the UK, which is the second country on the list.
Moreover, at 663.8 roundabouts per million people, France also ranks first when it comes to number of roundabouts per capita. And, with 78.5 roundabouts per square kilometre, France also ranks fourth in terms of roundabout density.
Second on the list of most roundabouts is the UK, with 25,976 of the efficient intersections across its territory. It should come as no surprise since the first circular junction, although not exactly the same as a modern roundabout, was built in Bath in 1768. The UK was also the first country to adopt and make mandatory at all circular junctions the rule of giving way to cars already in the roundabout.
While the country didn’t make it among the top 5 for number of roundabouts per capita, it does also rank second in terms of density, with 107.4 roundabouts per square kilometre.
Italy ranks third, with a total of 18,172 roundabouts, however, with 308.7 and 61.5 roundabouts per million people and per square kilometre, respectively, the country is just shy of making it among the top 5 for these criteria.
With a total of 15,053 roundabouts, Spain ranks fourth, also missing the per capita and density rankings, with 316.8 and 30.1 roundabouts per million people and per square kilometre, respectively.
Brazil ranks fifth, with a total of 11,854 roundabouts. With only 1.4 roundabouts per square kilometre and 54.8 per million people, the country also missed out on being among the top 5 for these lists.
While not making it among the top 5 for most roundabouts, Netherlands, Israel and Belgium have the densest network of roundabouts, with 113.4, 81.8 and 67.7 roundabouts per square kilometre, they rank first, third and fifth, respectively, making up the top 5 along with the UK and France.
When it comes to numbers per capita, except for France, none of the other top countries made it on the list. France is followed by Portugal, Norway, Iceland and Ireland, with 473.4, 427.1, 421 and 385 roundabouts per million people respectively.