The United States is a car-centric country, where many individuals utilize private vehicles as their primary form of transportation. The American Public Transportation Association estimates that the average household spends 16 cents of every dollar on transportation, which is the largest expenditure after housing costs. Not only is transportation via a private vehicle costly, but it emits a significant amount of GHG emissions and local air pollutants such as particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (or VOCs), nitrous oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide (SOx), contributing to climate change and decreasing air quality. In Carmel, transportation accounted for about 40 percent of total GHG emissions, so meaningful reductions in this sector will be critical to meeting overall emission reduction goals, enhancing air quality, and improving human health.
Carmel has long encouraged biking and walking as transportation options, particularly in the central core. Also, the City of Carmel Comprehensive plan includes numerous policies related to sustainable transportation. For example, the plan calls for a commuter line feasibility study and construction of an intercity bus or trolley system. The City actively encourages biking by prioritizing the installation of bike lanes, expanding its extensive bike path system, and hosting bike-centered events through the Bike Carmel initiative. Carmel also has over 125 roundabouts installed throughout the city, which help reduce vehicle emissions associated with idling at stoplights. Moreover, the remaining stoplights in the city are all powered by LEDs. Carmel was also awarded a grant in early 2021 to install two EV chargers.
Looking forward, the strategies in this section are focused on promoting electric vehicles (EVs) as an alternative to fossil fuel-based cars, exploring opportunities for public transportation, and promoting biking and walking as alternatives to driving.