Round-a-bouts, or traffic circles, are fairly common in the Northeastern United States, and practically the only type of intersection across Europe, but so far they have failed to catch on in the Midwest or anywhere West of the Mississippi.

This has more to do with the trepidation of voters than it does with the facts. The fact is traffic circles alleviate traffic congestion and produce safer intersections for everyone. Because of their nature, traffic does not stop at a round-a-bout, but rather proceeds forward cautiously, so cars never need to stop.

The lack of round-a-bouts in the United States might change dramatically if the city of Houston finds a way to make one around their city. Not only would it be the first round-a-bout in Houston, it would the first to link major interstate highways.

The idea, if eventually approved, would line interstates 10 or 45, or U.S. 59, around the downtown area. Drivers would never leave their respective interstate, but instead travel around the circle to exit in their desired direction. The idea is meant to alleviate traffic congestion and decrease the time required to reach downtown Houston, or by-pass it completely.

The Texas Department of Transportation stresses the preliminary nature of the idea, saying that studies may prove it’s not even feasible. But it is one of the “innovative” solutions the agency is floating as transportation leaders realize using the state’s limited funds to build more and more roads isn’t the best or only way to solve congestion in Texas’ major cities.

“That is currently on the table with a universe of options,” Raquelle Lewis, transportation department spokeswoman in Houston, said of the Texas-sized roundabout.