Free flowing, no signals (just death!)

This is the “Magic Roundabout” in Swindon, a sizable town of about 150k people about 80 miles west of London – or, to put it in terms I can understand – it is on the Great Western Main Line from Paddington Station, located halfway between Reading and Bristol.  Desite its railway heritage, Swindon is also known for its roundabouts…all 1,883 of them – there is even a roundabout-of-the-month calendar published by the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society (I kid you not).  If you think this is cool, just ask me about the interstate highway numbering “scheme” in the US!

Anyway, I digress…what you see above is what may be the world’s most complex roundabout, with five smaller roundabouts arranged artistically around a central roundabout, where the traffic flows in the opposite direction, as you can see in this schematic: 

Traffic Flow Schematic - note how the middle is not the same as the outer ones!

This crazy junction was constructed in 1972; when it opened they had temporary road markings, and apparently stationed police officers to observe traffic flow before deciding on the current arrangement.  Auto Express magazine ranks this as the 3rd worst junction in the world!


Posted on 28/05/2010, in Exploring the UK, Silly British Things and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. They’ve got to be kidding. Was the the brainchild of someone suffering from too much interbreeding or something? I sent to to John. He was highly diverted by the whole mess.

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