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Hilliard’s ‘Professor Roundabout’ Representing U.S. Local Governments on European Roundabout Trip

City of Hilliard Transportation and Mobility Director Letty Schamp was chosen to represent local governments across the United States in a Global Benchmarking Program (GBP) put on by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Schamp is one of six transportation professionals heading to Poland, Czech Republic, and the Netherlands next week to learn more about the implementation of turbo roundabouts in these European countries.

The group will meet with transportation officials from local city and state governments, technology centers, and universities to better understand the advantages of in-service turbo roundabouts compared to traditional roundabout designs.

“This will be a great learning opportunity for all of us, and to represent the City of Hilliard and all the municipalities here in the United States is really special,” Schamp said. “I’m not sure if I’m bringing my Professor Roundabout hat, but it’s pretty cool to think where roundabouts have taken me in my career.”

Schamp has spent the past 26 years with the City of Hilliard’s transportation team, serving as the Director of Transportation and Mobility since 2020. As one of the veteran transportation engineers in Central Ohio, Schamp was nicknamed “Professor Roundabout” several years ago, appearing in numerous city productions as a fun safety advocate.

Schamp and the GBP team will use their experience and perspective to gather information for the FHWA and determine next steps. The goal of the study is to build the expertise needed for turbo roundabout design to be applied and implemented in the U.S. in appropriate locations, which should help reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries, as well as the amount of property damage, on our roadways.

“Don’t let the term ‘turbo’ fool you,” Schamp said. “Turbo roundabouts were given the name based on their shape, not the speeds involved. In Hilliard, we will continue to design and build roundabouts for slow speeds to ensure all users of our transportation system can navigate them safely.”

Turbo roundabouts have emerged internationally as a safer and higher-capacity multi-lane roundabout solution, and they are on their way to the United States. As of late 2022, there was one operational turbo roundabout in Jacksonville, Fla., with more in development in other states, including Ohio and California.

Countries like the Netherlands have experienced success in recent years with turbo roundabouts in reducing crashes and increasing efficiency.

Turbo roundabouts were first designed in the Netherlands in the 1990s. While they operate in a similar manner to the roundabouts in Hilliard, turbo roundabouts have a different geometric shape – thus the name, “turbo.” The major difference is the use of road markings and raised lane-dividers to solve capacity and safety issues that often occur in standard multi-lane roundabouts. They may also use traffic control devices in a different manner. Design features of turbo roundabouts discourage lane changes, resulting in fewer “side-swipe” type accidents.

Read more about turbo roundabouts.

“We’ve already seen how effective a traditional roundabout is, and the future of turbo roundabouts is truly exciting because they are safer in many ways and more efficient,” Schamp said. “It won’t be long until they’re here in Ohio and likely our own community at some point.”

As part of her role with the FHWA Global Benchmarking Program study, Schamp will be part of the implementation team that promotes and plans the initial stages during the next few years. In addition to her role with the city, she’s also an active member of Central Ohio Greenways and has helped design and implement a total of 16 Hilliard roundabouts, with several more planned in the coming years.

“I have a passion for safety in general, whether it’s our roadways or ped-bike trails,” Schamp said. “I’ve dedicated my entire career to these efforts, so it’s truly an honor to represent the City of Hilliard on a global scale, and for a project that has a chance to make a significant impact on our roadways nationwide.”

Schamp and her colleagues leave June 9 and return June 17. For more information about the FHWA’s Global Benchmarking Program and the future of turbo roundabouts, visit:

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