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BlueIndy 2.0

Partner BlueIndy with local shopping businesses to reduce the costs of car sharing for lower-income residents.

Photo of Eugene L
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Partner BlueIndy with local shopping businesses to reduce the costs of car sharing for lower-income residents.  


The following proposal addresses the opportunity to provide greater and more affordable access to shopping in Indianapolis: groceries, household items, medication, etc.  There are pain points for those living in food / shopping deserts and who are challenged by not having a personal car.  And until IndyGo expands service, such residents using public transit are further limited, especially having to make multiple shopping stops throughout the city which could add more hours and stress to their schedule.  

In looking at the research conducted by City:One, people are choosing personal vehicles as the primary transit option to do the following jobs: 1) Complete daily shopping tasks  2) Have enough time to do other activities - household chores, spend time with family, school studies, etc.  While public transit is an option and should continue to be developed, a personal vehicle remains the most effective and efficient means to do the job of shopping.  So how might we make personal vehicle access more affordable for residents and economically sustainable for the Indianapolis community?


This proposed solution can be explained through the following scenario:

Janet needs to buy groceries and medication for her family.  This is a whole-day affair because she doesn’t own a car and relies on IndyGo, taking several different bus lines and making many shopping stops throughout the day.  Typically she wouldn’t be able to afford to rent a BlueIndy car, but a friend just told her about a new pricing program available to those in her income level.  After registering with BlueIndy, Janet goes to a nearby BlueIndy station with an available car.  She then drives to various businesses, listed on the BlueIndy website, to do her shopping.  These particular businesses have partnerships with BlueIndy - paying a monthly fee to be featured as part of the program.  As a benefit to Janet shopping at these locations, she pays a very nominal fee for renting the car and making it affordable.  She just needs to snap photos of her shopping receipts through the BlueIndy app, and with the car GPS tracker, her eligibility for the reduced rate can be confirmed.  Finally, Janet drops-off the groceries at her apartment, returns the car to the station, and takes an IndyGo bus back home - all within half of the typical time and stress.  Now she has the time and energy to cook dinner and enjoy an evening with her family.  

This scenario can include further integration with other modes of city transport, e.g. IndyGo bus stops or Pacers bike share stops located near BlueIndy stations.  This would create a more seamless and integrated transit experience.    

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Target users are lower-income residents who do not own a personal car and have a valid driver’s license. Users will need to be eligible for the service, verifying their lower-income status. The primary use case is shopping for groceries, household items, medication, etc. that cannot be conveniently accessed through public transit and / or require multiple destinations spread out across the city.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

There has not been any previous testing done for this proposal.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

I am a UX designer currently residing in Indianapolis. My professional background also includes 6+ years practicing architecture and 7+ years in arts education, working with preschool-age children to middle school. I am originally from San Francisco where I did not own a car and relied primarily on public transit. So recently moving to Indianapolis has presented some challenges, and I’m excited to take a deeper look into the issue of transit and potentially offer some solutions.

Size of your team or organization

  • I am submitting as an individual

Funding Request

  • $50,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

Budgeting will be roughly divided into the following buckets: 1) Marketing and participant recruitment - 10% ; 2) Staffing to handle manual activity - 30% ; 3) Usage fee for BlueIndy cars - 40% ; 4) Research and data collection - 20%

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

The pilot would be used to test and validate the following assumptions around this solution: 1) Users are willing to shop at designated businesses that may be new to their typical shopping needs; 2) Users are willing to submit shopping receipts as evidence of their participation with designated businesses; 3) BlueIndy cars will be sufficient in size to manage all shopping activities. The methodology will involve a concierge-type deployment, meaning all interactions that would typically be done digitally by a web or mobile app will instead be done manually for this pilot. Participants from the target user group will be recruited to form a sample size sufficient for testing. Participants will be supplied with BlueIndy accounts that will be funded according to their verified usage and shopping at designated businesses. Formal involvement from BlueIndy or local businesses at this stage of experimentation will not be required, though encouraged. Pilot will run for 3 to 6 months.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

Metrics for success will focus on retention, engagement, and happiness. Data collection methods will include a mixture of user interviews, surveys, field studies, and self-reported diary studies.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

The plan will be sustainable through the partnership between local businesses and BlueIndy. Businesses will pay a monthly fee to participate and be promoted. This business fee goes to subsidize the BlueIndy car usage by residents who now pay a very reduced and affordable rate. BlueIndy and local businesses will benefit through promotion, adopting more customers, and generating more revenue.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Robert P Tweed

I would like to suggest where is the help for the overweight, mobility challenged and elderly.
Feel free to look at my contribution:
Hope we might join our mind together?

Photo of Eugene L

Hi Robert. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I imagine there's a spectrum for each of those target users that you mentioned, e.g. mobility challenged, elderly, etc. For those who still maintain a legal driver's license, using a personal vehicle and a service like BlueIndy would still be desirable. For those who can't operate a vehicle by themselves, I've seen a several proposals in this forum that target that need and I'm excited to hear more about them as the challenge progresses. Robert, feel free to reach out with further thoughts or collaborative efforts. Thanks.

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