‘We Couldn’t Take A Roundabout Out if We Wanted To’: An Interview with Jim Brainerd, Mayor of Carmel, Ind.


The Indianapolis suburb of Carmel has become internationally famous for its commitment to a hotly-debated traffic safety intervention known as the “roundabout.” It wasn’t always that way, though — until Mayor Jim Brainerd came along.

Since first taking office in 1996, Brainerd has made retrofitting the city’s road network the centerpiece of his platform, ripping out hundreds of traffic lights and replacing them with roughly 140 innovative circular traffic treatments that have helped slash rates of car crash deaths and serious injuries to some of the lowest levels in the nation. But he says that super-slow cars and countless saved lives aren’t the only benefits of Carmel’s approach — and that roundabouts aren’t the only reason the city of 100,000 has been nationally recognized.



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