Our September 14 SAVI Talks! program, WHO RIDES THE BUS: Examining Transit Ridership in Marion County, addressed a timely and interesting topic regarding public transit in Indianapolis. The event showcased findings from The Polis Center’s newest report, WHO RIDES THE BUS: Examining Transit Ridership in Marion County.
Kudos to report co-authors Kelly Davila, MS, Senior Research Analyst; Matt Nowlin, MURP, Research Analyst; Unai Miguel Andres, MS, SAVI GIS technician; and Debra Hollon, MS, GIS Analyst, who compiled a rich and meaningful report.
They combined information from the recent IndyGo survey with a variety of neighborhood socio-economic factors from the SAVI community information system to better understand how and why certain groups of riders used the service. The report provides general audiences with an informed geographic approach to transit to see how place plays into the equation.
Attendees also learned more about IndyGo’s expansion of transit service in Indianapolis through the implementation of the Marion County Transit Plan from Bryan Luellen, Vice President of Public Affairs, IndyGo.
Another highlight of the morning was the excellent discussion let by moderator Matt Shafer Powell, Chief Content Officer, WFYI, on related report concerns from various perspectives by esteemed panelists: Karissa Hulse, Director of Development & Operations, IndyHub; James Taylor, Executive Director, John H. Boner Community Center; and Michael Twyman, PhD, Principal/Owner of InExcelsis Consulting.
Takeaways from the program include:
- Half of the riders at this time commute to and from work, especially those with lower income.
- Riders are a cross-section of people from nearly every neighborhood and economic status in Indianapolis. Some people rely on bus service in a life-sustaining way; others are becoming more willing to use it, but it is evident that is a different choice system.
- Riding the bus is to a degree a social justice issue in Indianapolis.
- Use of transit promotes economic mobility and improves educational, housing, and health outcomes.
- Transit promotes social mobility, reducing social isolation by providing a link to shopping and social activities.
- We need to work on changing the perception of using public transit in Indianapolis. It is simply a means to get about, an affordable transportation option particularly when combined with affordable housing, and it connects people and the community.
- The motivating factors for people moving back downtown is very different from what it used to be. These typically younger individuals are more inclusive and tolerant of differences and consider viable public transit for everybody the number one most important issue in their decision to stay in Indianapolis long-term. They want to choose transit but frequency, safety, and comfort are deciding factors.
If you missed the event, you may enjoy the PowerPoint presentations of Bryan Luellen and Kelly Davila and Matt Nowlin and download the report.
Most importantly, we thank our program partners: IndyGo, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, WFYI, The Polis Center at IUPUI, the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts, and IUPUI.
Join us Thursday, September 14!
Our fall SAVI Talks event will cover public transit in Marion County and feature data findings from our most recent community trends report authored by Polis Center professionals Kelly Davila, Senior Research Analyst, and Matt Nowlin, Research Analyst.
- We’ll explore data findings from a public transit ridership survey and examine what they reveal about:
- various types of transit riders and how they use transit.
- how place plays into the equation.
- Our distinguished panel will discuss the findings and consider what they show about:
- opportunities to improve transit access.
- implications for the implementation of the Marion County Transit Plan
In addition, Bryan Luellen, Vice President of Public Affairs, IndyGo, will discuss IndyGo’s expansion of transit service in Indianapolis through the implementation of the Marion County Transit Plan. Panelists for the broader discussion on the implications of the data findings include:
- Karissa Hulse, Director of Development & Operations, IndyHub
- James Taylor, Executive Director, John H. Boner Community Center
- Michael Twyman, PhD, Associate Faculty, IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Matt Shafer Powell, Chief Content Officer, WFYI, will moderate.
The event will be held at WFYI, 1630 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46202 from 7:45-10:00 a.m. RSVP today!
SAVI Talks! Public Transit in Marion County is a collaboration of the following partners: The Polis Center, IU, the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts, WFYI, IndyGo, and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
Dr. Nir Menachemi, chair of the health policy and
management department at Indiana University’s
Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.
There is one clue that speaks volumes about your health prospects but has nothing to do with your medical records.
“We know now that one of the greatest predictors of health outcomes for almost any patient, undergoing any procedure, or with almost any disease, is one value on a patient’s chart,” says Dr. Nir Menachemi, chair of the health policy and management department at Indiana University’s Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. “And that value isn’t medical. It’s their ZIP code. You can tell with extreme accuracy how someone is going to fare, after a procedure, by their ZIP code.”
Where a person lives is critical because health is shaped by factors outside the scope of traditional medical interventions and advice.
“In this country, we tend to medicalize health-care issues,” Menachemi says. “If someone is having a health issue, we automatically assume the medical system can fix it. A lot of organizations are now beginning to realize that many health issues are not necessarily problems that can be addressed through medical care alone. They’re bigger issues in the communities where people live.”
Menachemi is participating in a study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, that aims to help medical professionals and institutions make better use of that data. The project, which draws on the resources of The Polis Center, the Regenestrief Institute, and the Richard M.
Fairbanks School of Health, is testing a tool that predicts what kind of care might best serve a patient. To do so, it uses an algorithm that incorporates medical records as well as neighborhood-level data from the SAVI Community Information System supplied by Polis.
“We’re taking data about the neighborhood where patients live and seeing if we can predict who’s at risk for needing some of these social services,” Menachemi says. Services include nutritionists, financial and legal advisers, and mental health professionals. “The medical way of thinking about a problem is, if the patient isn’t doing well after a couple of visits, figure out the next medical intervention. Whereas, if you deploy a nutritionist to take them grocery shopping, and better educate the family on how to stretch the buck to incorporate healthy eating into the family’s lifestyle, maybe you’ll actually put a dent in the ability of the family to manage diabetes, for example.”The tool has been in the pilot stages and will soon be implemented in the 10 health clinics maintained by Eskenazi Health.
“This is absolutely at the cutting edge,” Menachemi says of the collaboration. “It’s almost like this perfect marriage of forces— all of us on the same team, trying to figure out how to lead the nation in improving quality and reducing costs in health care.”