The city of Camel, Indiana has been able to make serious progress in reducing the number of persons killed in traffic accidents within the city.
The City now has a traffic accident fatality rate of 2 deaths for every 100,000 persons, which is staggeringly low compared to the national average of 12 per 100,000 persons. According to the Mayor, this has been the result of the City’s implementation of a number of steps designed to encourage free and safe flow of traffic and improve road safety, while also controlling road emissions.
Mayor Jim Brainard took over as Mayor in 1996. Since then, the City of Camel has installed a jaw-dropping 120 roundabouts within the city. These roundabouts have helped direct the smooth and safe flow of traffic around the city, and have also reduced the influence of common accident factors, like speeding. The roundabouts have narrower lanes, and these make it imperative for motorists to slow down, thereby reducing the number of accidents caused by speeding motorists. The increased number of roundabouts has meant a reduced need for stop lights. The city has just 14 stop lights, and has managed to reduce traffic accident numbers through a more efficient use of roundabouts as a tool for reducing speeds.
This path to success has not been easy. The City had very few roundabouts initially, and many motorists were not sure of how to use these. There were several rear-ender accidents reported in the initial days of the strategy. However, the city embarked on a public education campaign to educate motorists about how these tools would keep them safe. As a result, acceptance of the roundabouts increased.
The roundabouts have proven to be an effective and affordable strategy for the city. According to the Mayor, traffic cameras and stop lights are expensive to install and maintain. Roundabouts have helped solve the problem of funding for safety improvements.
More Indian cities need to follow the same model and design street improvements that can help keep motorists safer.