Posted by Allegra East on Sep 15, 2017
WHO RIDES THE BUS: Examining Transit Ridership in Marion County
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.