IndyGo’s Purple Line will follow the Red line in development and construction, but it will be just as impactful. Like the Red Line that comes before it and the Blue Line that follows it, the Purple Line will be an IndyGo game-changer.

Project Overview

The Purple Line is but one component of the larger Marion County Transit Plan that will improve 70% of the entire IndyGo system.

The 14.8 mile Purple Line will connect the City of Indianapolis and the City of Lawrence.

For much of the corridor, the Purple Line will replace and improve our existing Route 39 local service, already the most productive route in the IndyGo system.

This frequent, fast, and reliable service will be a core operational component of an entire system of routes that is being maximized for efficiency and easy connectivity.

File Archive

Welcome to IndyGo’s curated archive of documents and files relating to the Purple 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.

Purple Line Presentations

Traffic and Parking Studies

Purple Line Renderings

Community Tools

Business Support

IndyGo supports local businesses before, during, and after Purple Line construction. The Indy Chamber’s Business Ownership Initiative can offer support to local business during construction.

Handouts & Documents

Purple Line Area of Potential Effect Map: The Purple Line is currently undergoing the environmental review process per the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970. This environmental process examines a multitude of variables, such as historical assets and visual quality. The boundaries outlined for examination, both above and below ground, are known as the Area of Potential Effect (APE). This map is available here.

Why are we building the Purple Line?

The Purple 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 Purple Line will follow IndyGo’s current Route 39 — the highest ridership route. Together with the Red Line, local route improvements, and the density of the corridor, the Purple Line will be an integral component of this regional rapid transit project.

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. 

How much will the construction of the Purple Line cost?

Construction of the Purple Line is budgeted for $140M.

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

IndyGo has applied for a competitive Small Starts grant for 50% of costs. 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 the Purple Line’s operating expenses be paid for?

Purple 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.

Current Ridership

Segments of routes 4, 19, 38, and 39 currently overlap to comprise portions of the Purple Line corridor. The current ridership on the corridor is 6,000 trips per day, accounting for 13 percent of all daily ridership within the IndyGo system.

Anticipated Usage

Based on current demand and travel modeling, initial conservative estimates predict approximately 4,500 trips per day will be made via the Purple Line. However, with increasing population and employment in downtown and adjacent areas over time, ridership is expected to grow.

Fares and Fare Collection

The Purple 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.

Fare Enforcement (eventually)

The Purple 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 Purple Line impact local transit service?

The Purple 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 Purple Line will now feed into the Purple Line, providing the potential for more frequent service in those areas.

Local routes will remain in service during construction of the Purple Line. During this time, there may be service advisories and/or detours to limit conflict with Purple 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 Purple Line is planned to be operational from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and will expand later into the night on weekends, compared to the existing Route 39. The Purple Line will operate every day of every week, 365 days a year.

A Purple Line rapid transit vehicle will arrive at each station every 10 minutes during peak service, and on an adjusted schedule during non-peak times.

Buses/Bus Specifications

The Purple 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.

Of additional note to bicyclists, revisions to the Purple Line design now accommodate the development of a multi-use path along the northern side of 38th Street.

Dedicated Lanes

To ensure the Purple 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 Purple Line corridor, the Purple Line will likely operate in dedicated lanes for the vast majority of the route. After traffic studies are complete, final traffic configurations will be determined with input from stakeholders, the public, and the engineering team. Dedicated lanes will be striped and marked “Bus Only,” and in some cases, these lanes may be painted bright red to distinguish them from regular car lanes. Emergency vehicles will also be able to use the dedicated lanes. 

Electrical Charging Infrastructure

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.

Median and Raised Curbs

A slightly raised curb, measuring four inches in height and eighteen inches in width, will be used on segments of the Purple Line with dedicated lanes 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 rapid transit vehicle. To compensate for reduced direct 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. To minimize inconvenience and improve safety, traffic signals will be added at five locations along 38th Street to permit left turns, U-turns, and pedestrian crossings.

On Meridian Street and 38th Street, the raised curb will separate the two bus-only lanes.

Both the IFD and IMPD have approved the design of the 4″-high, 18″-wide curb and feel comfortable that their vehicles can negotiate it if and when they need to cross it. In addition, emergency vehicles will be able to use the dedicated lanes during emergency runs, allowing them to bypass general traffic to reach emergency scenes more quickly.

Conceptual: Still under design.

Stations

The inspiration for the Purple 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 be designed with specific attention to making the Purple Line convenient for passengers and ensuring fast and frequent operation of the Purple 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 rapid transit vehicle. 

Security. In addition to being well lit, stations will incorporate security cameras and emergency “blue-light” phones for reporting emergencies. 

Ticket-Vending Machines. Each station will be equipped with ticket-vending machines for passengers to purchase fares prior to boarding the rapid transit vehicle, providing additional convenience to passengers, speeding the boarding process, and ensuring consistent operations of the rapid transit vehicle. These machines will accommodate cash and credit/debit card transactions.

The Purple 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.

Fare Enforcement (eventually)

The Purple 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.

Windscreens. The stations will include windscreens to protect passengers from inclement weather while waiting for the next bus.

Businesses

The IndyGo team is committed to working with local businesses and property owners to minimize the impact that construction has on businesses.

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 our team here.

Research suggests that communities with fixed route transit 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.

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

Neighborhood character and context

Nearly all of the neighborhoods along the Purple Line corridor were once served by streetcars and/or the interurban, and the urban form of these neighborhoods were influenced — and often driven by — these transportation modes. The Purple 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

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.

Sidewalks and Connectivity

As part of the Purple Line, proposed infrastructure improvements at Eva Talley Park include constructing a 10’-wide asphalt multi-use path through the park (north side of 38th Street from Tacoma Avenue to Sheridan Avenue) and a 31’-long by 6’-wide sidewalk connecting the path to the park’s pavilion. In coordination with Indy Parks, IndyGo has determined that 13,662 square feet of new permanent right-of-way will be required to construct the multi-use path and 433 square feet of temporary easement will be required to construct the pavilion sidewalk. At the request of Indy Parks, the park’s name stone will be relocated within park boundaries.

Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 provides special protection and requires the opportunity for public input when transportation projects may impact park or recreation resources. The Purple Line would not adversely affect any of the activities, features, or attributes associated with Eva Talley Park. FTA has made a preliminary determination that the Purple Line will have a de minimis impact on the park (impacts to the park are minor in nature).

The proposed site plan for Eva Talley Park may be viewed here.

Parking

The impact on adjacent street parking will vary throughout the corridor. 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.

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); Baum-Snow and Kahn (2000); Garrett (2004), and Hess and Almeida (2007).

Traffic

During Construction. The Purple 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 Purple Line will not result in full closures of any streets on the corridor; however, there will be lane restrictions in areas where construction activity is occurring.

Purple Line activities will be aligned with other 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 Purple Line operations on existing traffic, we generally found that the Purple 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 any worse than it is currently. 

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:

Transit Riders

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

After implementation, BRT riders will have improved, more-frequent access to additional jobs, major hospitals, three institutions of higher education, cultural and community assets, and several neighborhoods.

Will the Purple Line impact my property?

Most of the infrastructure being built for the Purple Line will be within the existing Right of Way (ROW). However, the addition of sidewalks and curb ramps where none currently exist along 38th Street will require IndyGo to make improvements approximately 6 feet to 15 feet off the proposed curb line to allow for a 6-foot sidewalk, a 6-foot sidewalk with a 5-foot buffer between the sidewalk and curb, or a 10-foot-wide, multi-use path and 5-foot buffer. Therefore, the project may acquire approximately 6 to 11-foot-wide sections near the roadway from multiple properties. In addition, some temporary property acquisitions will be required in select locations where they are needed to assure proper grading from the new sidewalk to the adjacent property.

Project plans are available on the interactive map and show areas that will require ROW widening.

Will the Purple Line require the removal of any structures?

No. Most of the land acquisition for the Purple Line will be limited to strips of land adjacent to the street for sidewalks and curb ramps, or for widening an intersection to create turn lanes.

How does the property acquisition process work?

The public input process is designed to review preliminary recommendations with the public and stakeholders and mitigate negative impacts through design changes. By the 60% design milestone, project plans will begin to solidify and IndyGo will contract with a third party for property acquisition. The process for property acquisition required for transportation projects is strictly governed by federal regulations and state law. Details of the affected property owner’s rights will be included with the acquisition offer.

Property Acquisition Process:

  • Property owner is notified by mail that the property is being appraised.
  • The property owner will receive an acquisition offer at the fair market value as determined by the appraisal, and will have 30 days to respond to that offer.
  • The property owner can accept, reject, or negotiate the offer.
  • If an agreement cannot be met, IndyGo may file suit to acquire the necessary right of way. This step would trigger eminent domain proceedings that would include an additional appraisal by court-appointed appraisers.

What is eminent domain?

Eminent domain is a process that permits certain public agencies to acquire private property for public use through court proceedings, with payment of fair and just compensation as determined by the court-appointed appraisers.

How does eminent domain work?

Eminent domain proceeding is a last resort action to be exercised if a mutually agreeable fair market value cannot be reached. If IndyGo and the property owner cannot come to an agreement on the value of the property to be acquired, the court will appoint appraisers to re-appraise the acquisition property and prepare a report of their determination of the fair and just compensation due the affected property owner. Both the affected property owner and IndyGo have the right to appeal the court appraisers’ determination.

Construction Updates

Interactive Construction Map

Once construction begins, a map will be added to the website here. You’ll be able to use this map by scrolling and clicking on the construction icons to understand what is happening in a particular place.


Weekly Updates

Once construction begins you’ll be able to find weekly updates here relating to what is being worked on and where. Information will also include traffic alerts and detours for motorists, IndyGo riders, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Interested in bid opportunities with IndyGo?

Please visit the main bid opportunities page on the IndyGo website for more information.