Carmel should continue to reduce traffic lights, add roundabouts


Avery Carlisle

If you have ever been outside of your house in Carmel, you would be familiar with the thing we do best: roundabouts. Before I got my driver’s license, I thought the City of Carmel just wanted to be different by constructing so many roundabouts. However, now that I have been driving myself, I’ve come to realize the many benefits they provide whether it be reducing crashes or reducing pollution.  

According to Carmel’s official website, our city has more roundabouts than any other city in the nation. We’re at a whopping 138 circular intersections, and this number is continuing to grow rapidly. Recently, for example, the city has been building a roundabout directly outside of the school connecting Lexington Boulevard and Main Street. 

People may not think about this, but the amount of roundabouts Carmel has is actually saving a multitude of lives. According to the Indiana Department of Transportation, compared to four-way intersections with traffic lights or stop signs, roundabouts have up to a 90% reduction in fatalities and 75% fewer conflict points. With roundabouts, drivers are forced to slow down and there is much less of a chance that some of the most dangerous accidents will occur, including head-on collisions. As many drivers race yellow lights, run red lights and have unsafe turning habits with traffic lights, roundabouts provide a much safer driving environment.

Not only do roundabouts reduce accident fatalities, but they also reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. When a driver is stopped at a red light, the car just sits there continuing to let out gas and harm our atmosphere. Now, more than ever before, it is crucial to do everything we can do to reduce the amount of carbon emissions. As reported by the Indiana Institute for Highway Safety, roundabouts have been found to reduce carbon monoxide emissions by 15 to 45%, nitrous oxide emissions by 21 to 44% and carbon dioxide emissions by 23 to 34%. In the long run, if more cities made an effort to build more roundabouts, this would be a giant step toward saving our planet’s atmosphere. 

Along with the convenience of not driving up to a light just as it has turned red, roundabouts provide more efficiency, fewer crashes and reduce carbon emissions. Carmel’s obsession with roundabouts may be overlooked, but more cities should consider going down the roundabout path as well. 

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Avery Carlisle at [email protected] 

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