Carmel (Indiana) Multimodal System Plan

Carmel (Indiana) Multimodal System Plan

This complete streets/multimodal system plan is a community-based, smart transportation plan providing policy guidance to integrate and balance traditional and multimodal transportation facilities with both existing and desired land use patterns, and supporting sustainable development and improved quality of life. A complete streets|multimodal system incorporates walking, bicycling and transit access within an idealized transportation network that supports placemaking within districts and along their connecting corridors.

Storrow Kinsella Associates worked with the City of Carmel and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to enhance thoroughfare and smart growth planning in Carmel. This work is an extension of the MPO's regional multimodal planning mission.

The Multimodal System Plan for the City of Carmel proposes the development of a transportation system that promotes greater use of walking, biking and transit, and that identifies key district nodes to reinforce transit-supportive development, improve active living and intensify green infrastructure.

Multimodal corridors are defined as corridors that accommodate these multiple modes of transportation and recommend specific streetscape characteristics to improve transportation options. They promote the economic performance of adjacent land uses.

This transportation system reinforces Carmel’s district nodes (places) as destinations. Local transit circulators that link to a regional transit system, with stops served by taxis, parking, bike parking and other services, will support access to transportation choice into walkable zones that allow workers, visitors, and residents to move from place to place with or without a car. The resulting balanced transportation system provides travel choice while managing current growth trends.


This report, developed in 2010, is a draft that was not formally adopted. However, it did shape the City of Carmel's response to the IndyConnect Plan and positioned Carmel for an informed discussion with the Indy MPO regarding their transit needs.  


The "place" strategy developed in the plan was informed by the simultaneous discussions the city was having about form-based zoning. Plan recommendations for "place" included:

  • Guide development opportunities towards node-based, transit supportive placemaking in existing and developing districts.
  • Reinforce those nodes through linked transit and land use policies that guide viable market-driven strategies.


The "connection" strategy developed in the plan included methodologies to serve the rural/suburban parts of the City in addition to its downtown core. Plan recommendations for "connections" included:

  • Develop a first phase introduction of a downtown transit shuttle/trolley to serve the Carmel Core Business District and link it to a regional transit center.
  • Expand the existing bicycle and pedestrian network emphasizing linkages to the identified district and neighborhood nodes. Differentiate the infrastructure improvements depending on corridor typology recommendations.
  •  Develop a design and brand identity that is consistent with a high-quality user experience, as a model for a sustainable multimodal system within a 21st century community.

Project Summary

Carmel Multimodal System Plan
SKA prime | Year completed: 2008
Client: City of Carmel, Indiana, Department of Community Services, Mike Hollibaugh, Director

The study was funded by a Federal Transportation Planning grant administered by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization with matching funds provided by the City of Carmel.





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