IndyGo’s new Blue Line, the third phase of our far-reaching transit-system re-engineering project that we call Bus Rapid Transit, is under development. BRT will change the way you think about public transportation in Indianapolis -especially to and from the airport.

Project Overview

The Blue Line will provide rapid transit along Washington Street between Cumberland and the Airport, replacing and improving the existing Route 8 local service, providing fast, frequent and reliable transit service for its entirety of 24 miles.

Stats
Stations: Level boarding
Station Spacing: ½ – 1 mile
Distance: 24 miles

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Project Progress

5% Design – End of April 2018
10% Design – August 2018
30% Design – January 2019

File Archive

Welcome to IndyGo’s curated archive of documents and files relating to the Blue Line project, such as traffic and environmental studies. As the project has evolved over time, so have the documents associated with it, so please note that several documents may have been updated multiple times. Each document should indicate the date of those changes and/or additions and reflect when they became effective.

Renderings

Why are we building the Blue Line?

The Blue Line will provide access to work, education, health care, restaurants, entertainment, and shopping. It will be a cornerstone of a comprehensive set of transportation options serving Indianapolis and central Indiana and will offer an alternative to using autos for people of all ages. The Blue Line will follow IndyGo’s current Route 8, along Washington Street from Cumberland west to the Airport. With the Blue Line, local route improvements, and the density of the corridor, the Blue Line will extend the rapid-transit benefits to communities and neighborhoods all along its path.

In general, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) 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. 

What makes the selected routes the best option?

The Blue Line will serve one of the most active existing transit corridors on Washington St. The current Route 8 is one of IndyGo’s most heavily traveled routes and is an excellent candidate to be upgraded to BRT.

How much will the construction of the Blue Line cost?

The Blue Line will cost $200 million. This is subject to change depending on the final lane configuration and route that is selected for the project.

How is the Blue Line’s construction being paid for?

The Blue Line construction will be paid for in part by the local transit tax, other local sources, and potential federal funds.

How will the Blue Line’s operating expenses be paid for?

The Blue Line operations will be paid for through the local transit tax.

Fares and Fare Collection

The Blue Line will operate under the same fare structure as local IndyGo service. IndyGo is planning a comprehensive fare analysis to examine various alternatives to its current fare structure, independent of the Blue Line project.

Fare Enforcement (eventually)

The Blue 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 Blue Line impact local transit services?

The Blue Line is one element of the Marion County Transit Plan; as such, optimal route alignments are being identified. It is likely that local routes that once traversed the same corridor as the Blue Line will now feed into the Blue Line, providing the potential for more frequent service in those areas.

Local routes will remain in service during construction of the Blue Line. During this time, there may be service advisories and/or detours to limit conflict with Blue 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, Schedules, & Frequency

The Blue Line is planned to be operational every day of the year. A Blue Line rapid transit vehicle will arrive at each station every 10 minutes on weekdays and every 15 minutes during the weekend.

Buses/Bus Specifications

The Blue Line will utilize rapid transit vehicles developed specifically for operation on IndyGo’s BRT lines. The rapid transit vehicles will be 60’ articulated buses with doors opening on either side of the vehicle. The rapid transit vehicles will be fully electric with a range of up to 275 miles. The vehicles will be constructed and provided by BYD.

Bicycle Infrastructure

Rapid transit vehicles will provide space for onboard bicycle storage. Bicyclists will board at a designated door nearest the space for bicycle storage, and platform-level boarding will enable bicyclists to conveniently and easily roll their bikes on and off each rapid transit vehicle. There will be no bike rack for bicycle storage on the front of the BRT buses.

More information will be provided as bicycle-storage components are determined.

Dedicated Lanes

To ensure the Blue Line remains able to maintain its speed and frequency, eliminate any impacts caused by congestion or traffic incidents, and improve safety for all users in all modes of transportation along the Blue Line corridor, the Blue Line will operate in dedicated lanes where traffic volumes are enough to create the potential for delay.

Business Activity

BRT not only provides a needed alternative to auto use, but also enhances a community and provides an incentive for economic development. Since transit riders require no parking spaces at their destinations, rapid transit can reduce the need for businesses to provide their own parking, which can be very expensive. The permanence of BRT infrastructure supports increased private investment in the corridor, contributing to increased economic opportunity and quality of life.

Environmental

BRT provides positive benefits for the environment. Research shows that commuters can save hours of travel time by shifting to BRT. By proxy, this reduces both the hours they sit in idling vehicles and vehicle-miles traveled. BRT also translates into better local air quality and reduces the likelihood of road fatalities and crashes. (More information is available here.)

By using electric rapid transit vehicles, IndyGo will reduce its consumption of diesel fuel and the emissions that result from diesel vehicles. In addition, zero-emission, fully-electric buses produce little to no noise pollution, allowing the rapid transit vehicles to operate without impacting nearby people or activities. It is anticipated that at least some of the energy required to charge the rapid transit vehicles on a daily basis will be derived from the solar panels atop IndyGo’s facility.

Neighborhoods

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

Increases 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 is available here and here.

Property Owners

Research suggests that proximity to a Rapid Transit service increases the values of nearby properties. A sample of this research includes Bowes and Ihlanfeldt (2001); Cervero and Duncan (2002); Baum-Snow and Kahn (2000); Garrett (2004); Hess and Almeida (2007); and Perk and Catalá (2009).)

Transit Riders

When the BRT system replaces local service on IndyGo’s busiest corridors, current transit riders will benefit from increased convenience, frequency, and reliability. In addition, transferring from local route service to the Blue Line will reduce wait times before boarding and travel times after boarding.

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 rapid transit vehicles and emergency vehicles, or may only be used by motor vehicle traffic under certain conditions.

When rapid transit vehicles are 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: