Ever do something in your hometown that feels like it’s actually happening somewhere else?
That’s how it felt this week when I rode the Red Line for the first time. If you don’t know, the Red Line is Indy’s first bus rapid transit line which opened for service September 1st. Quiet, sleek all-electric buses with wi-fi and charging ports; 13-mile route through the heart of Indianapolis using dedicated bus lanes for speed; level-boarding on raised station platforms; real-time apps for tracking your trip.
I’ve used great transit systems all over the world, so it felt very familiar as I stood on the station platform, checked the screen to see when the bus would arrive, walked onto a modern vehicle when the doors opened, and held on with my diverse group of fellow travelers as we sped down the route. Except . . . this was in Indianapolis, not D.C. or Portland or Shanghai! How great is that!
I can’t wait to use the Red Line all the time . . . . as soon as I figure out my “first mile/last mile” issue. Technically, it’s a 1.8 mile issue – that’s how far I live from the closest Red Line station. A bit of a schlep on foot and not a great bike or scooter ride, because there are no sidewalks or bike lanes along the busy road I’d have to take to get there. So, what to do?
Getting to and from transit lines has long been an issue for many folks in Indy, and that’s where the City:One Challenge comes in. How do we create innovative, affordable, and accessible ways for people to connect to these mobility options? What might those options look like: micro-transit, flexible on-demand service, community ride-share? How do we ensure that persons with disabilities and families with children have equitable access to these innovations?
You can learn more about the Indianapolis Challenge and our opportunity areas at the Challenge website: http://bit.ly/2TYIgtJ. We’re accepting proposals for the Indy Challenge through September 17. Help us continue building a great mobility network in Indianapolis!
- Ron Gifford, Project Manager, Central Indiana Personal Mobility Network