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Remote Transit Centers (RTC): A new way to use existing infrastructure to solve problems using Time of Use mentality

Mini Remote Transit Centers could better utilize existing infrastructure in a more useful manner for Non-Car Mobility

Photo of Thomas Ortega II
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A Remote Transit Center (RTC) is an area out in an underserved part of town, but located along an existing commuter route. It would be a space that would function as both a garage (overnight parking of a few buses) and transit center (mornings and evenings), it would be inactive during the day time. Four or so buses already in use would be repurposed to call the RTC their home at night. In the early hours, the four buses would run new local routes passing through high density housing to get people to the RTC. These new local routes would only be active in the morning and evening, not serviced during work hours.  Once one of the buses arrives at the RTC, the riders can then access the traditional main commuter route. The 4 buses eventual service the existing commuter route and wind up at the DTC. Having the 4 buses in the RTC would provide ability to fill the gap during peak times, be a backup to another bus that gets delayed on its way out in the morning or they could run non-stop editions of the route from the RTC to the DTC. The last bus could be the “running late” bus. It would leave an hour or 2 after the normal commuter rush and still be a non-stop direct edition. During the day the buses could be cleaned in town at the normal depot. During the evening commute time, the four buses would then take commuters from the DTC back to its RTC. As these four buses arrive, the RTC would turn into a nightly hub: 3 buses would be assigned the new local pickup route (the same one from the mornings), while 1 would each be assigned another new local “Shopping” route that would provide access to super markets, strip malls, etc until a reasonable hour of night. This would allow the Non Car users to be able to use IndyGo exclusively to perform everything necessary to live from getting to and from work to doing their nightly shopping.

The idea for this concept is borrowed from the retail concept of Time of Purchase. For instance, in the morning you dedicate more space to breakfast items (coffee and donuts) whereas the same space is then repurposed at lunch and dinner time. The same goes for buses, while the established routes are good repurposing some buses at key points in time would then allow for better coverage with the same number of assets/buses/drivers.

Variations/Additions to this concepts once the pilot proves feasibility:

  • Assign 12 person passenger vans as well to the RTC to do “ride share” like services to and from points along the new local routes (in the morning/evenings) or directly to the RTC. This would cost the rider more than the average ride, but would then be transferable to cover their normal commuter fare.
  • Same van concept that could operate more like a vanpool, it hits certain “stops” every morning if enough people band together and prepay to be picked up there every morning/night
  • Partner with supermarkets and have a designated evening stop for these “shopper” buses to enable pay ahead/pickup ordering so individuals can order ahead and not have to even get off the bus.
  • Have special “luggage racks” near seats for riders to easily store their purchased goods and/or redesigned seats to prevent cans/fruits/etc from rolling off the seats.
  • Make the RTC actually be a mall/supermarket, strip mall to easily facilitate shopping activities
  • A hotline number/smart phone app would allow regular commuters to note they are late so the bus could now how many late people are coming and leave when they hit the number of late comers.

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

This portion of the challenge brief report is what spurred this idea. The plight of user spotlight: Jennifer is a major force in this idea. When I was a Non Car User for the first 27 years of my life, I felt many of the same pains she felt and know exactly the frustrations she has. I think with just some repurposing of existing IndyGO assets, we can make life easier for these Non Car Users.

Describe your solution's stage of development

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

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

We are Omega Ortega. ( We are a group of thinkers that know how to code. We created ideas that have won us prizes for 4 different verticals: banking, retail, healthcare and law. We think outside the box and provided innovative solutions based on problem data provided to us. We feel we could also leverage connections from those wins to find partners to help build/contribute to our solution.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $50,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

Roughly, the budget would be spent for space rental (if needed) for the pilot Remote Transit Center idea. The rest of the budget would be spent to create awareness for the new service (printed materials for inclusion on buses, signs at/near bus stop, fliers to be included in retail establishments serviced by the pilot, libraries, DTC)

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

During the pilot phase, we would work with IndyGo to see what the feasibility of repurposing some existing assets to fit inside our concept idea. We would recontact Jennifer (from the user spotlight) to get buy in from her and utilize her route as the pilot route. We would ride her route and talk to others on the bus to get their insight into fine tuning our idea and map out the new local route. We'd partner with local retail establishments to see which one would be most supportive to assisting us in the pilot. Once we have fine tuned the idea with users and partners, we would then start printing up materials and putting them up along the buses servicing the pilot as well as within partner retail establishments. We would then ride the buses during the pilot to see where things are failing and could be better, fine tuning the process during the 6 month pilot, especially as weather changes and the elements affect the usability.

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

Remain in constant contact with Jennifer and her fellow riders, by talking with them on their commutes to get updates on if and how much this repurpose of existing infrastructure made an impact on their lives. We would ask for hard data on how long things used to take vs now. We would take their old routine, ride that route ourselves, time it and then measure the same actions against our pilot. This will give us quantitive data as to amount of time needed to execute common tasks, while the user interviews would give us qualitative information on how it bettered their lives and give us a sense on what that extra time they've gotten back in their lives is now spent.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

If the pilot goes well, we should be able to see that the dollars that used to go to ride share in the Challenge Brief Report should be going down and instead be pumped back into the IndyGo system. Word of mouth should also help spread word of the program and its benefits. Non Car Users are constantly sharing tips and tricks on how to better optimize things. I know because I used to do that myself. :)


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