Transit Planning, Policy, and Performance
Because IndyGo is a recipient of federal, state, and local tax dollars, we are required to follow various federal, state, and local statutes, and to solicit and review public input on a regular basis. To this end, IndyGo uses a variety of planning tools, policies, performance-monitoring methods, and decision-making procedures to ensure that our transit system is running safely, efficiently, and economically.
In 2018, the IndyGo board adopted our service standards policy; it is the essential foundation for our transit-planning’s decision-making process. These standards guide our decisions about route structure, span of service, service frequency, passenger loads, on-time performance, missed trips, and route performance evaluation.
The 2019 Service Standards were adopted at the October 2019 Board of Directors meeting.
Measuring ridership is key to evaluating a transit system, so IndyGo uses electronic fareboxes to count passenger trips. We then cross-check this data with automatic passenger counters (APCs). APCs provide valuable data on a stop-by-stop basis that give us insight to rider volume, patterns, and predictability.
Ridership will vary throughout a given route’s hours of operation, peaking during typical workday morning rushes. We ramp up our resources to meet these predicted peaks and then scale them back for predictable ridership lows, but not all routes are the same, and some require consistent resource levels throughout the day.
We use two measures of productivity to formulate an overall productivity rating by route: ridership productivity and economic productivity. Ridership productivity is measured in riders per revenue hour of service. Economic productivity is measured in operating subsidy per passenger.
IndyGo’s system includes more than 3,500 unique-carrier stops.
Our adopted Service Standards call for bus stop spacing of 1/4 mile where frequency and pedestrian infrastructure allow, providing access for riders while minimizing delays.
We rely on established stop guidelines to help us determine what investments will be made at each location for amenities such as shelters, benches, bike racks, and solar lights. To learn more about our methodology and amenity options, visit the Transit Amenities page.
IndyGo conducts a Comprehensive Operational Analysis (COA) of our transit system every five years. These in-depth studies help identify service strengths as well as opportunities for improvement.
We collate and present the findings of the COA in the IndyGo Forward Final Report in which we examine how best to utilize our system assets such as the Transit Center, and how best to invest in the future of transit in Indianapolis.
Section 5310 — Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Grant Program
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants limited transportation funds for capital improvements (vehicle acquisition, etc.) through its Section 5310 — Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Grant.
IndyGo is the designated recipient of the Section 5310 funds in the Indianapolis Urbanized Area and is responsible for administering the grant and distributing funds. More information about Section 5310 funds, including project selection and oversight, can be found in IndyGo’s Section 5310 Program Management Plan. Eligible recipients of these funds include:
- Private not-for-profit organizations.
- Authorized units of local government.
To be considered for the grant, projects must be derived from the Indianapolis area Coordinated Transportation Plan.
The 2021 Section 5310 Special Call for Projects runs from Dec. 1, to Jan. 26. Any applicants wishing to apply must attend the Special Call for Projects webinar Dec. 1, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Registration information is available here.
Eligible projects are for new “traditional” service(s) and revenue loss reimbursement due to COVID-19. New “traditional” service(s) receiving funding will require a 50% local match. The estimated amount available for this call for projects is $300,000. The grant application will be available following the meeting.
For further information about this grant opportunity, please contact Ryan Wilhite, manager of special projects and regional mobility integration, at 317-536-2660.
Here is a month-to-month breakdown of the number of passenger trips on IndyGo’s local routes. Please note that Open Door ridership is not reflected in this data.
On-board surveys help IndyGo determine who is riding and how the system is being used. The survey’s results help with service planning and federal reporting to ensure service is distributed equitably to all passengers.
Learn about our 2016 On-Board Survey.
As a public agency that receives funding through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), IndyGo is required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure that its programs and services do not exclude minority and low-income populations.
To ensure that we provide fair and equitable service to all populations, IndyGo must perform analysis by census tract and receive public input on any proposals that would significantly change service. If proposed changes to service do not disproportionately burden low-income/minority areas, changes may proceed. If the proposed changes are skewed to more negatively impact low-income/minority areas, the agency must find a way to justify or mitigate the impact.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), requires federal grantees to have a process for soliciting and considering public comment before raising a fare or carrying out a major service change. In compliance with this requirement, IndyGo has established a two-way communications program to ensure that all citizens, regardless of race, color, religion, income status, national origin, age, gender, disability, marital status, or political affiliation, have an equal opportunity to participate in IndyGo’s decision-making process.
Check out our Public Involvement Program.
In Indianapolis, some of our bus stops are spaced too closely together. On a local bus route, stops should be within a convenient walking distance of each other – about a quarter mile. If stops are spaced much more tightly than that, buses spend an excessive amount of time stopped for boarding and at red lights. As part of the Marion County Transit Plan, IndyGo will balance our bus stops to allow people to get where they want to go faster. More detailed information about bus stop spacing can be found in the IndyGo Service Standards Document.
- Too many bus stops mean that buses aren’t moving as quickly as they should be.
- People who can currently reach multiple stops won’t see any difference. For riders at stops that have been moved, the maximum added walk time to a new stop should be ¼ mile – approximately five minutes.
- This (slightly) longer walk means a faster ride, which will enable people to spend more time doing the things they love.
How do we decide what stops to keep and what stops to remove?
- IndyGo will prioritize maintaining stops near points of interest, schools and hospitals.
- Stops that have lower ridership and pedestrian accessibility issues could be considered for removal.
Watch this video from the Transit Center to see how rebalancing bus stops speeds up the service dramatically.
To learn more about IndyGo’s current bus stop balancing initiative, visit indygo.net/stopchanges.
Bus Stop Balancing Video
The Paratransit Operational Analysis (POA) is intended to address identified issues that have resulted in declining quality of service provision and identify potential opportunities to improve service. The final report will provide recommendations to improve paratransit service.
Background & Public Involvement
Since 2009, various studies and sustained public involvement under the banner Indy Connect have helped sculpt a detailed plan for regional mass transit with the support of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA).
An effective public involvement program provides for an open exchange of information and ideas between the public and transportation decision makers. The objective of IndyGo’s public involvement process is to support proactive public involvement at all stages of planning and project development.
Hundreds of public meetings to gather input from the public have taken place over the years to help refine what the transit priorities are for Central Indiana.
In 2014, IndyGo Forward helped set a direction for the agency’s future investments. Public discussions focused on the tradeoff between coverage-based services and ridership-generating services. With comments from IndyGo Forward and Indy Connect, a specific Marion County plan has been developed.
In February of 2016, IndyGo introduced the Marion County Transit Plan to the public. Legal notices, paid radio and internet ads, on-board print and audio announcements, postings at major stops in the downtown area, direct communication to e-newsletter subscribers, social media, website updates, press releases and partner communications gave options to learn about the plan. In just over 5 weeks, IndyGo hosted or attended 17 meetings to promote the plan and gather feedback.
February through April 2016 Marion County Transit Plan Outreach Events:
|2/5/2016||MCTP Open House @ Central Library|
|2/10/2016||Indy Hub :: Dinner Series Irvington|
|2/13/2016||MCTP Open House @ Haughville Library|
|2/15/2016||MCTP Open House @ CAFE|
|2/15/2016||Town Hall Meeting @ Wayne Township Library|
|2/16/2016||Garfield Park Neighborhood Association Meeting|
|2/22/2016||Michigan Rd./ Riviera NA Meeting|
|2/26/2016||MCTP PUBLIC EDUCATION ADVISORY GROUP|
|2/27/2016||MCTP Open House @ Central Library|
|2/27/2016||Southside Envisiong Summit|
|3/2/2016||Downtown YMCA Top 10 Coalition MCTP Presentation|
|3/8/2016||Carriage House Apartments|
|3/9/2016||Indy Hub :: Dinner Series Nora|
|3/9/2016||IMPD Community Conversation|
|3/10/2016||Connexion Event hosted by Indy Chamber|
|3/10/2016||Warfleigh Annual Meeting|
|3/14/2016||MCTP Open House @ Nora|
|3/16/2016||tech + fashion + transit + urban|
|3/17/2016||Next Stop Opportunity|
|3/21/2016||MCTP Open House @ City of Lawrence|
|3/23/2016||MCTP Open House @ Speedway|
|3/24/2016||State of Downtown w/Downtown Indy|
|3/30/2016||MCTP Open House @ E. 38th St.|
|3/31/2016||MCTP Open House @ Indianapolis Urban League|
|4/5/2016||MCTP Open House @ Perry Township|
IndyGo collected comments at meetings, online, and through the customer service call center. Staff received and reviewed 97 comments.
Overall Comments – 97
- Positive – 36
- Better Frequencies – 5
- Longer Hours – 12
- Better Weekend Service – 11
- General Support- 15
- Clarification— 2
- More Coverage – 17
- General Suggestion – 15
- Negative slant or concern expressed— 20
- Safety – 1
- Access/Usefulness – 5
- Farther Walk – 4
- Rail – 1
- Full-on Opposition – 3
- General Concerns – 3
- Cost – 3
- Desire to have longer hours of service
- Cross-town Connections
- Citizens want greater frequency
- Access to routes
- Providing more coverage
- Better weekend service
The Marion County Transit Plan is generally well received. Positive feedback focuses on the benefits of increased service hours and general support for a more robust transit system in Indianapolis. The majority of the comments were questions and suggestions which centered on adding more weekend service and additional system coverage to reach areas currently not served. There are concerns about the consolidation of routes and how that will affect particular corridors in terms of ease of accessibility to routes. Some citizens are concerned about having to walk further to a stop. Additionally some have expressed the desire for more frequent service on the South and West sides of the city.
Staff reviewed comments and assessed what changes could be made to improve the plan and enhance equity especially on the west, south and southeast sides. A summary of the changes made to the plan follows:
- High frequency for West 38th Street.
- New north-south connection on west side to facilitate transfers outside of downtown.
- New service to Park Fletcher on southwest side.
- New service structure on near southside to better serve denser areas and improve service compared to current day.
- Improved frequency for inner southeast area including high frequency for South East Street and Beech Grove.
Since 2009, the Indy Connect initiative has pulled together city leaders, neighborhoods, businesses, residents, local organizations, and national transit experts to look at transit service in Central Indiana and to map out what an improved transit system could look like in Indy. While transit isn’t a silver bullet, these groups recognize that access to useful, low-cost transit service has a positive impact on a number of issues Indy faces. Learn more about the benefits here.