Rapid Transit Is Coming!
Indy’s Red Line will provide frequent transit service between Broad Ripple and the University of Indianapolis – better connecting you to your city.
“[Red Line] is a critical missing piece that will help attract and retain business and workforce in our region...”
“Indy proud and can't wait for this to be implemented!”
“I am a supporter of this plan. I always said that if we had a better-planned and more complete bus system I would no longer rely on my car for my inner-city traveling.”
“Looking forward to this running through my neighborhood!”
“Indy needs a spark to light the transit fire and show greater Indianapolis and all of Indiana that public transit is NOT a mode of transport used only by those without individual vehicles.”
“I’ve been hoping that Indy could improve its transit for at least 15 years. This is the first significant step in that direction.”
“Indianapolis lags far behind world-class cities in terms of non-car transportation options. College Ave. is not a highway — the Red Line would help it further transition to a pedestrian-friendly, higher quality of life commercial & residential corridor. ”
“…effective public transportation is essential to the economic and cultural growth of the city.”
“Broad Ripple and downtown are two places that are frequented by people for work, shopping and play and many people live along this line (in upwards of 180,000+). Giving an effective option to not drive will decrease car congestion.”
“Input and support has been extensive. Studies have gone on for 20 years. Now is time to do this.”
“The Red Line will be a great asset to spur transit oriented development, leveraging on-going community initiatives.”
“The Red Line could wind up being a lifeline for many of the families our district serves who cannot easily get where they need to go.”
“Great planning! Need to help 52nd Street issue/lack of parking.”
“We ride IndyGo now and can’t wait for the Red Line Bus Rapid Transit. The sooner the better!”
F A Qs
Why are we building the Red Line?
The Red Line will provide access to work, education, health care, restaurants, entertainment, and shopping. It will serve as an alternative to driving for people of all ages and serve as a cornerstone of a comprehensive set of transportation options serving Indianapolis and central Indiana. The Red Line corridor is the densest corridor in terms of population and employment within Marion County, and the walkable built environment along the route lends itself to a successful rapid transit project.
Bus rapid transit systems provide many of the benefits of light rail at a fraction of the cost. BRT systems provide increased frequency, reliability, comfort, and convenience relative to local bus services. The permanence of BRT infrastructure supports increased private investment in the corridor, contributing to increased economic opportunity and quality of life.
Why are we building the Red Line before the Purple (East 38th) or Blue (Washington Street) lines?
The Red Line has more population and greater employment density than the Purple or Blue Lines; additionally, the Red Line has more households, more retail space, more student trips, more social trips, and a higher number of low-income households than the other corridors. The current development patterns adjacent to the Red Line corridor are generally denser and more pedestrian-friendly than the other two corridors, providing an urban context that is more conducive to promoting ridership.
As a result of the Red Line’s strength on these and other measures, it was the first corridor in Indianapolis put forward for competitive federal funding under the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts program. IndyGo currently plans to pursue federal support for the Purple and Blue lines in the future
How was the alignment for the Red Line determined?
Throughout 2013, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the Central Indiana Regional Transit Authority (CIRTA), and IndyGo worked with consultants to study various north to south routes throughout central Indiana for the placement of the Red Line. This report is commonly referred to as the Red Line Alternatives Analysis (or AA).
North of downtown, an area from roughly Ditch Road to Dean Road was studied; south of downtown, the team examined an area from Bluff Road to Sherman Drive. The study was conducted for the entire Red Line corridor (including later phases stretching north into Hamilton County and south into Johnson County). From various alternatives within those geographies, the current corridor was selected.
The final AA report serves as the culmination of the entire Red Line planning process and summarizes all analyses, findings, recommendations, and outcomes of the planning process and all of its component parts.
What makes the selected route the best option?
Employment density is the top predictor of transit ridership, and the Red Line will connect several neighborhoods to the state’s largest concentration of jobs (downtown), the state’s largest hospital, Ivy Tech, IUPUI, and UIndy. The corridor is currently served by IndyGo’s most heavily traveled local bus routes, representing one percent of IndyGo’s service area while providing 15 percent of all IndyGo boardings.
The Red Line corridor, on average, is lower income than Indianapolis as a whole; increased access to employment opportunities – as well as institutions of higher education – will provide increased opportunity to all residents living within the corridor who will be better able to access these locations.
Many of the neighborhoods adjacent to the corridor are dense, mixed use, pedestrian-friendly areas that create an urban context where transit use is easy and convenient. For example, it is easier and more comfortable to access a transit stop from a townhome or sidewalk café than it is from a subdivision or large-scale retail operation. The selected corridor was chosen over other adjacent corridors for several factors, not the least of which was its quality of the pedestrian experience and ease of access for potential riders.
How much will the construction of the Red Line cost?
Construction of the Red Line is budgeted for a $96.3 million, which includes nearly $25 million in contingency to cover any unforeseen expenses or cost inflation.
How is Red Line construction being paid for?
Construction of the Red Line is being funded primarily through a $75 million federal Small Starts grant. Additional federal resources are being provided through a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant already in place. Local match for these two grants are being provided by the City of Indianapolis, IndyGo, the City of Carmel, the City of Westfield, and the City of Greenwood. However, should the federal Small Starts grant not be available, the project will move forward with local funding from the approved transit income tax.
How will Red Line operations be paid for?
Red Line operations will be funded through IndyGo’s annual operations budget. IndyGo’s operational budget is derived from several sources, including federal formula funds, the Indiana Public Mass Transportation Fund, several sources of local funds, fare revenue, advertising revenue, and other sources of earned revenue.
Segments of routes 12, 14, 17, 19, 22, 38, and 39 overlap to comprise the Red Line corridor. The current ridership on the corridor is 6,000 trips per day, accounting for 22 percent of all daily ridership within the IndyGo system.
Initial, conservative estimates show approximately 11,000 trips per day will be made via the Red Line based on current demand and travel modeling. It is expected that ridership will grow over time as a result of increasing population and employment of downtown and adjacent areas.
Fares and Fare Collection
The Red Line will operate under the same fare structure as local IndyGo service. MyKey, IndyGo’s updated fare system, provides off-board fare payment and collection at ticket vending machines and validators at each station. Additionally, riders may use their mobile app or reloadable card to pay and board rapid transit. Cash will still be accepted on board for a 2-hour Transfer Ticket or Day Pass.
The Red Line will utilize a “proof of payment” system for fare collection, where fares will be paid at ticket-vending machines on the station platform, through a mobile app, or some other form of fare media. To ensure compliance with the fare policy, IndyGo will employ fare-enforcement officers to randomly check passengers for proof of payment.
How will the Red Line impact local transit service?
The Red Line is one element of the Marion County Transit Plan; and as such, optimal route alignments are being identified. It is likely that local routes that once traversed the same corridor as the Red Line will now feed into the Red Line, providing the potential for more frequent service in those areas.
Local routes will remain in service during construction of the Red Line. During this time, there may be service advisories and/or detours to limit conflict with Red Line construction and other construction activities occurring along the route. IndyGo will communicate impacts to IndyGo customers, commuters, local businesses and the general public.
Service Hours, Schedule, & Frequency
The Red Line is planned to be operational from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day of the year.
A Red Line vehicle will arrive at each station every 10 minutes during peak service and then adjusted during non-peak times.
The Red Line will utilize buses developed specifically for operation on the Red Line. The buses will be 60’ articulated buses with doors opening on either side of the bus. The buses will be fully electric buses with a range of up to 275 miles.
“Build Your Dreams” was selected as the bus manufacturer to run IndyGo’s, Red Line.
Buses will provide space for onboard bicycle storage. Bicyclists will board at a designated door nearest the space for bicycle storage; platform-level boarding will enable bicyclists to conveniently and easily roll their bikes on and off the bus. There will be no bike rack for bicycle storage on the front of the BRT buses.
More information will be provided as the bicycle storage components are identified.
To ensure the Red Line remains able to maintain its speed and frequency and eliminating any impacts caused by congestion or traffic incidents, the Red Line will operate in dedicated lanes where traffic volumes are sufficient to create the potential for delays. Specifically, the Red Line will operate in a bi-directional single dedicated lane on College Avenue (with the lanes separating on either side of each station). The Red Line will operate in separate, unidirectional lanes on Meridian Street and Capitol Avenue. The Southern portion of the Red Line on Virginia and Shelby will not have dedicated lanes due to physical limitations with the width of those streets. Traffic volumes on Virginia and Shelby are also lower than College, 38th, Meridian, and Capitol. Dedicated lanes will be marked and striped with “Bus Only” and in some cases may be painted red to delineate them from regular car lanes. Emergency vehicles will also be able to use the dedicated lanes.
Electrical (Re)Charging Infrastructure:
The Red Line will be the nation’s first battery-electric bus rapid transit route.
The battery capacity of the rapid transit vehicles will be enough to allow most charging to take place at IndyGo headquarters; additional infrastructure will include wireless charging for vehicles and the equipment for three charging pads along battery-powered routes. These wireless charging pads will be installed and paid for by BYD, the maker of IndyGo’s electric vehicles. Rapid transit vehicles will charge for approximately 10-20 minutes at three locations near the rapid transit routes.
A slightly raised curb, measuring four inches in height and eighteen inches in width, will be used on Meridian Street and College Avenue to minimize potential conflicts between BRT vehicles and cars that could result from a car turning left across a bus lane with a through-traveling bus. To offset the limiting of access to the driveways of residences and businesses along these corridors, U-turns will be permitted at signalized intersections with a protected left turn phased into the traffic signal cycle.
On Meridian Street, the raised curb will separate the two bus-only lanes. Along College Avenue, the raised curb will be in the center of the bi-directional bus-only lane.
Approximate dimensions of mountable curb will be 4″ high by 18″ wide. IndyGo has been in active communication with IFD and IMPD about the design of the curb. Both have approved and feel comfortable that their vehicles can negotiate the curb if and when they need to cross it. Additionally, emergency vehicles will also be able to use the dedicated lanes.
The inspiration for the Red Line station was established through a design competition that took place in the summer of 2016 (more info here). After a public vote and a juried review by a panel of local experts and community representatives, Sean Morrissey’s design was selected as the winner. IndyGo’s design consultants have worked to adapt Morrisey’s concept into a final functional design for actual construction.
The stations will contain several components to make using the Red Line convenient for passengers and ensure fast and frequent operation of the Red Line.
Canopy Roof: The canopy structure has been inverted from the original design to help control the flow of rain water to provide for a more convenient and comfortable boarding process.
Lighting: Lighting will be positioned to provide a well-lit, secure boarding area while minimizing impacts to adjacent properties.
Real-Time Arrival Information: Each station will be equipped with a digital marquee sign showing real-time arrival information for the next bus.
Security: In addition to being well-lit areas, stations will incorporate security cameras and emergency “blue-light” phones to report emergencies.
Ticket Vending Machines: Each station will be equipped with ticket vending machines for passengers to purchase fares prior to boarding the bus, which will provide additional convenience to passengers, speed the boarding process, and ensure consistent operations of the transit vehicle. These machines will be equipped to be handle cash and credit/debit card transactions.
The specific technologies to be incorporated into the ticket vending machines – and the fare system as a whole – will be updated following the conclusion of a comprehensive fare analysis and Red Line operational plan currently being developed by IndyGo.
Windscreens: The stations will include windscreens to protect passengers from inclement weather while waiting for the next bus.
Accessibility: The Red Line buses and stations will be fully accessible and step-free in accordance with the American Disabilities Act. All stations feature a gradual ramp to help riders get up to the 15-inch height of the platform. The height of the platforms is level with the floor height of the bus which pulls up directly next to the platform. This allows all riders with to board or exit the BRT vehicle smoothly without the need for a ramp or the bus to kneel.
The IndyGo team is committed to working with local businesses and property owners to minimize the impact that construction has on businesses. Early in 2017, the IndyGo team will be taking a survey of businesses along the corridor to understand the concerns of each business as it relates to its operating hours, where it receives deliveries, how customers access their business, and other issues.
During construction, the IndyGo team will also seek to minimize the time that any one place is under construction by completing all construction activities in one location before moving on to other locations. The IndyGo team will also work with neighborhoods and local businesses to ensure there is adequate signage to show how to access businesses during construction.
Businesses with concerns can always reach out to a Red Line Corridor Liaison (here).
Research suggests that communities with fixed route transit to have lower unemployment rates, lower rates of employee turnover, and higher labor force participation. For individual businesses, access to transit promotes a deepening of the labor pool from which they are able to draw qualified employees. For individual businesses, the long-term benefits of proximity to new BRT services has not been widely studied; the number of variables related to those individual businesses, their financial health before the BRT service, and other factors make it difficult to project potential benefits or impacts to any single business.
BRT has positive benefits for the environment. Research shows that commuters can save hours of travel time by shifting to bus rapid transit; by proxy, this reduces hours that they sit in idling vehicles and reduces vehicle miles traveled. This additionally translates into better local air quality and reduces the likelihood of road fatalities and crashes (more information available here).
Through using electric buses, IndyGo will reduce its consumption of diesel fuel and the emissions that result from diesel vehicles. Further, due to the buses being zero emissions, fully electric vehicles, there is little to no noise pollution, allowing the buses to operate without impacting nearby activities. It is anticipated that at least some of the energy required to charge the buses on a daily basis will be derived from the solar panels atop IndyGo’s facility.
Neighborhood character and context: Nearly all of the neighborhoods along the Red Line corridor were once served by streetcars and/or the interurban; the urban form of these neighborhoods were influenced – often driven by – these transportation modes. The Red Line replicates this service.
Investment and economic impact: The increase in transit capacity can also support an increase in investment and employment within the corridor. The Cleveland HealthLine stimulated $5.5 billion in investment after its opening in 2008. Several studies have found that the implementation of a BRT system leads to an increase in the number of jobs within the transit corridor as well.
Impact on crime: The increasing of transit capacity and frequency, and the introduction of new transit service, has not been found to result in an increase in criminal activity. Further, the introduction of well-lit stations with security cameras and other security systems, can result in a safer pedestrian environment. Some studies have shown a decrease in criminal activity following the introduction of increased transit service (research available here and here).
The impact on adjacent street parking will vary throughout the corridor. Along College Avenue, roughly 20 percent of street parking will be removed; generally, these impacts will occur adjacent to station areas and signalized intersections. There will be no impact to street parking on cross streets in the corridor. Along Meridian Street and Capitol Avenue, one lane of parking will be removed from the current street configuration to accommodate the addition of bus lanes; our models show that there will still be adequate supply to meet parking demand in these areas. In the Fletcher Place and Fountain Square corridor, only a few parking spaces will be removed to accommodate stations, but no large scale removals are planned.
For more information, see the Red Line parking analysis here.
During construction, there may be temporary parking restrictions as construction occurs. IndyGo will work with its construction management team to minimize these restrictions as much as possible.
Research suggests that proximity to a Rapid Transit service increases the property values of nearby properties (a sample of this research includes Bowes and Ihlanfeldt (2001); Baum-Snow and Kahn (2000); Garrett (2004); and Hess and Almeida (2007).
During Construction: The Red Line team is in the process of finalizing the construction schedule and timeline that will determine when each corridor sees construction activity. As each corridor is under construction, we will work with our construction management team and contractors to target activities within the corridor to minimize the length of time any single area is under construction. Construction of the Red Line will not result in full closures of any streets on the corridor; there will be lane restrictions in areas where construction activity is occurring.
The Red Line team is coordinating with the Department of Public Works and Citizens Energy to align our construction activities to road closures those entities have planned for 2017 (DPW will be replacing the Capitol Avenue bridge over Fall Creek) and 2018 (Citizens Energy will be closing Meridian Street at 28th Street for their Fall Creek Tunnel Project). Red Line activities will be aligned with those projects to minimize additional impacts on traffic during construction. As planned routes for detours are developed, they will be posted online and through traditional media as well as distributed to community groups throughout the impacted areas.
Following Construction: In modeling the impact of Red Line operations on existing traffic, we generally found that the Red Line would not result in levels of service that were below what is commonly recognized as an acceptable level (a level of service D for urban streets), or – in places where traffic already operates below an acceptable level – make traffic congestion no worse than it is. The design of the Red Line was able to achieve a maintenance of an acceptable and/or current level of service in all locations with the exception of the intersection of College Avenue and Kessler Boulevard, where a modest decrease in the existing level of service triggered a categorical downgrade from a “D” level of service to an “E” level of service.
Left Turns and U-Turns with BRT:
To maintain on-time transit service, safety for pedestrians and drivers, and traffic flow, many segments of IndyGo’s upcoming Red, Purple and Blue BRT Lines will operate in exclusive or semi-exclusive center-running lanes. This means that the lanes are only for use by the BRT and emergency vehicles, or may only be used by motor vehicle traffic under certain conditions.
When BRT is traveling in Bus Only Lanes, drivers will only be permitted to turn at signalized intersections for their safety. All signalized intersections will include a protected U-Turn phase and construction includes the addition of new signals to improve safety and flow. See video below:
College Avenue: The combination of left turn restrictions/lanes and removing local buses actually improves traffic flow in the southbound direction, which is currently one lane. Northbound, the street will change from two lanes to one lane, with the addition of protected left turn lanes and a removal of underlying local bus service. We anticipate roughly 2.5 percent of afternoon rush hour trips (those using the northbound lanes) being shifted off of College Avenue in favor of parallel north-south streets (Pennsylvania Ave., Meridian St., Washington Ave., and Central Ave.); this represents roughly 25 additional cars during the afternoon rush hour on each street.
At each signalized intersection, a left turn lane and protected left turn signal phase (“green arrow”) will be in place that will allow drivers to make a legal and easy U-turn to access mid-block driveways on the opposite side of the street.
Meridian Street: In the morning and afternoon rush hours, our model suggests a 25 percent decrease in traffic volume. These trips are expected to be shifted to transit and/or vehicular trips on adjacent streets. The increase in traffic volume on parallel streets is expected to be no more than two percent above their current traffic volumes.
At each signalized intersection, a left turn lane and protected left turn signal phase (“green arrow”) will be in place that will allow drivers to make a legal and easy U-turn to access mid-block driveways on the opposite side of the street.
Capitol Avenue: Capitol Avenue currently operates with traffic volumes far below its capacity. With the addition of dedicated lanes for operation of the Red Line, existing traffic volumes will remain below the street capacity, resulting in no significant congestion.
South Side: The operation of the Red Line on the south side will look similar to existing local bus service (curb-side stations, operating in mixed traffic) and traffic impacts are expected to be minimal.
For more information, see the Red Line traffic analysis here.
Current transit riders will benefit from the increased convenience, frequency, and reliability of a BRT system replacing local service on IndyGo’s busiest corridor. Additionally, transferring from local route service to the Red Line will improve travel times and decrease wait times. The implementation of the Red Line will lessen wait times before boarding and will reduce travel times between where individuals board and their destinations.
After implementation, transit riders will have better, more frequent access to nearly 150,000 jobs, major hospitals, three institutions of higher education, a number of cultural assets, and several neighborhoods.
I’d love to use transit more often but it takes too long, and I can’t be late for work. How will BRT change that?
One of the main purposes of implementing BRT is to improve the reliability and frequency of the system so more people want to use transit. During morning and afternoon commutes BRT service would run every 10 minutes, meaning you would never have to wait long to catch a ride. Other BRT features such as pre-board ticketing, transit-only lanes and transit-signal priority at busy intersections will also add to an improved transit experience. One more plus: You won’t need to pay for parking!
Will the Red Line replace the local bus service that currently operates on the same streets?
Yes, underlying local service that runs on the same streets as the Red Line will be removed.
Could I get off the bus anywhere I want along the route?
The Red Line will stop at designated stations only. Generally, stops are anywhere from ¼ to ½ mile apart.
Will there be park and ride facilities?
As part of the project, IndyGo will not be building any new parking facilities such as garages or park and ride lots. Phase 1 of the project is located in the urban core of Indianapolis where many people are within walking distance of the line. We are working with community partners to utilize existing assets that are currently underused. For example, there is a parking garage in Broad Ripple at the intersection of College Ave and Broad Ripple Ave. That garage is a conveniently located existing facility and would be a good location to provide a park and ride for commuters. We’ll be exploring similar opportunities on extensions of the Red Line, Blue and Purple BRT lines.