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Free rides that enable mobility and connections between jobs, health care, entertainment and home with micro-transit, electric shuttles.

Photo of Meg Storrow

Written by

Riley Area Development Corporation is partnering with a proven provider of micro-transit to offer free electric shuttles that connect their affordable housing project, Trailside on Mass Ave, in a one mile service area that includes IUPUI, the hospital complex, and downtown visitors and jobs , with the multiple neighborhood populations of Chathatm Arch, Lockerbie, Cottage Home, Martindale Brightwood, Windsor Park, the Old Northside and Fountain Square.

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

Envision a Mom who lives in Cole Noble that has a child at the School For Inquiry at 725 N New Jersey Street, and who works as a beautician in the Mass Ave Cultural District. Normally she and her child walk or use Blue Indy, which is sometimes cumbersome because there isn't a convenient place to leave the Blue Indy car. With Circuit, she can hail the electric shuttle using her smart phone and ride with her child to drop them at school and then continue to work. All very convenient and free. RADC has 106 units of affordable housing in the service area.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Pilot - you have implemented your solution in a real-world scenario

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

Initially begun as a free service for beach goers, Circuit has expanded to become a micro-transit solution for multiple urban centers.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Riley Area Development Corporation [] is leading this effort to provide free connectivity for their constituent populations living in their affordable housing on Mass Ave, their entrepreneurs on North Mass Ave with downtown destinations. Circuit [] was started in 2011 on a hunch that people would love easy, free transportation to their favorite hotspots using gas-free electric shuttles and working with forward-thinking sponsors.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

Planning and Operations $10,000 Deployment of 3 cars for 4 months, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday $74,650.00

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

RADC will house the shuttles in the Trailside Parking Garage at 875 Mass Ave where they would be parked, serviced and charged. Circuit will train ambassador drivers and operate and manage the shuttles. The shuttles would be brightly wrapped with a Mass Ave Cultural District identity logo and would be instantly desirable because of the known Mass Ave brand. the Mass Ave Merchants Association Coordinator, Chantel Stone would launch a social media campaign, designed to reach the over 20K Facebook subscribers to Mass Ave INDY.

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

We will measure our success by sponsorships and users. If we can gain some sponsors during our pilot phase we can expand our hours and days of operation. For instance to run the same program 12 hours/day at 7 days/week it would cost $108,658 (more than double the hours of the pilot program). If sponsors come to the table, Circuit will offer a 40% revenue share, or can roll that into an extension of the program. The shuttles have interior ipads that riders use to snap a "selfie", and enter thier email addresses to share the photos with their friends. Those email addresses are retained as subscribers, enabling us to verify the number of users. In addition our drivers are trained as ambassadors and can count their travelers during their trips.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

Although we haven't talked to them, we believe that Salesforce, Cummins, and Bottleworks will all want to sponsor this idea, given the opportunity. For other districts that may not have potential sponsors, RADC will seek philanthropic support.

Attachments (1)


Circuit (formerlry The Free Ride) and Riley Area Development Corporation (RADC) propose providing a FREE micro-transit connection to other travel options for better access to healthy food, medical care, education, jobs and cultural activities. The service area links RADC's affordable housing rental properties to downtown destinations with less reliance on a private automobile. Check out this attachment that describes our proposal in detail.

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Photo of Trena Roudebush

I love this idea! Transportation, especially seemingly short distances, is such a barrier for so many of our residents. I'm so excited about this possibility to ease access to work, medical care, groceries, etc. Thank you for thinking creatively!

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