Consider the simple roundabout—a traffic circle that is well known in Europe but less so in most of the United States.
Proponents say the roundabout could drastically reduce crashes, injuries and deaths, improve traffic and even save cities a lot of money. But they’ve only recently become popular in the U.S., and not without resistance.
That is, except for Carmel, Indiana.
Mayor Jim Brainard became fascinated with roundabouts as a young student studying in the UK. Since then, his city streets have been filled with them—about 150 of them in a city of 100,000 and counting.
“It looks like I get requests every month,” Brainard said. “‘Can you remove this traffic light near my house or my business?’ I wouldn’t be able to make a detour today if I wanted to.”
Research backs up Brainard’s bet. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which is funded by the insurance industry and publishes widely followed vehicle crash-test ratings, says roundabouts are much safer for drivers and pedestrians and cause far less congestion than traffic lights. They’re even better for the environment.
Roundabout is not without its critics, though. Some say they may not be able to handle a lot of traffic, and there are some studies showing that certain designs are actually more harmful to cyclists.
But Brainard said they helped transform his community.
“We have 150 corporate headquarters in Carmel. We’ve been voted multiple times by various organizations as one of the best places to live in America; one of the best places to retire; one of the best places to raise a family” For Singles One of the best places for professionals. That’s because we set out to build an efficient city,” he said. “Transportation networks are one of the basic things that a city has to do well to function properly. “
Watch the video to learn more.