About a decade ago, business and local government leaders in Indianapolis/Marion County acknowledged that the region’s network of highways and roads was great at moving freight but not so good at moving people. It was a very real threat to the future of the city and a task force was convened to explore solutions. The task force found that out of every transportation option—from HOV lanes to off-road trails—transit offered the highest return on investment. But unlike other options, transit had no dedicated source of funding. That needed to change.
In the intervening 10 years, the region fought for and won a change in state law that enabled local referendums to raise transit funds, approved a subsequent referendum, and is now beginning to see the fruits of its labor. The new funding has allowed the bus system—which was functionally a peak hour, 5-day a week service—to increase frequencies and extend operating hours for many lines. And three bus rapid transit lines are in the works, the first of which—the Red Line—is poised to open this year.
This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we are joined by Sean Northup, Deputy Director of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization. Sean chats about the Red Line and how it connects some of the densest parts of the region. He also discusses the long process for winning local, dedicated funding to support better transit service and how transit oriented development is being approached in the region after the completion of a TOD Strategic Plan.
Building Better Communities with Transit is intended to provide more support to communities and local leaders who are working to catalyze new development around transit, give more people access to public transportation, increase access to opportunity, and build robust local economies. You can find this episode—and all of our previous episodes—on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.