Who Rides the Bus?

SAVI Talks - Fall 2017

Over 26,000 Marion County residents use transit. For 75 percent of riders, most of their trips are work related. For the other 25 percent, transit principally provides access to health care, shopping, and social destinations.

On September 4th The Polis Center presented findings from our new report, WHO RIDES THE BUS: Examining Transit Ridership in Marion CountyIn a panel discussion hosted by WFYI, we engaged in a community conversation around the function of transit in our city and the upcoming advancement of the transit system.

This research combines 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.

Some key findings 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.
  • 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.


Kelly Davila, Senior Research Analyst

Debra Hollon, GIS Analyst

Matt Nowlin, Research Analyst

Unai Miguel Andres, MS, SAVI GIS Technician


Matt Shafer Powell, Chief Content Officer, WFYI

Karissa  Hulse, Director of Development & Operations, IndyHub

James Taylor, Executive Director, John H. Boner Community Center

Michael Twyman, PhD, Principal/Owner of InExcelsis Consulting



Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization



Program sponsors included the WFYI, The Polis Center at IUPUI, the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts, and IUPUI.