The University of Indianapolis has been designated as a future stop along the planned Red Rapid Transit Line, according to the Indy Connect website. The planned north-south route will run from Carmel to Greenwood through downtown Indianapolis.
According to Indy Connect, the Red Line will be a Bus Rapid Transit system. This style of rapid transit combines elements of both light rail and buses. Assistant Executive Director of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization Sean Northup said the decision to add UIndy as a stop came after research into the area.
“That was a very big, methodical analysis to understand which streets had the highest potential to carry high capacity – where is the build environment rate, where is the density, where are there sidewalks?” Northup said.
The choice was between Madison and Shelby streets. Northup said that because Madison is a sunken street, and because the university has thousands of people on its campus every day, Shelby Street was selected.
President Robert Manuel said that he sees this as a great result of the Five-Year Plan.
“For any major, urban city there are a number of ways and corridors that people travel. And along those corridors, you find vibrant arts communities, vibrant living communities, vibrant economic development zones,” he said. “… To be on one [corridor] that the city is considering shows potential for all of that to happen, with university input and certainly with private interest along and around campus. I think it will help with the development of the area.”
According to communications director for Mayor Greg Ballard Marc Lotter, construction on the line could begin in 2016 or 2017, depending on how the project receives the majority of its funding.
Earlier this year, the Indianapolis Red Line Planning Studies group received a $2,073,200 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants allow for either construction or planning.
Northup said the planning committee is hoping to receive between 50 and 80 percent of its funding from the federal government. They will need to have their funding proposal filed by the end of 2015 in order to make it into President Obama’s 2016 budget.
According to Northup, if the plan does not make it into Obama’s 2016 budget, funding will rely on a referendum. Senate Enrolled Act 176 would authorize that referendum, which would be a vote to decide whether or not the people of the eligible counties would support a .1 to .25 percent increase in income tax in order to support development of transit systems such as the Red Line.
Northup said the plan calls for real-time information on arrivals and delays and off-board fare, and hopefully there would be no more than 10 minutes between departures from each station. This will be achieved through the use of dedicated traffic lanes and the use of signal priorities. Northup said that this would allow for quick and dependable travel, so that a rider could show up at a station and expect a bus to come by shortly.
The line will operate 20 hours on weekdays and 18 and-a-half hours on weekends and holidays.
The fleet will be made up of 17 electric powered buses, which according to Northup and Lotter, has drawn positive attention from the federal government.
Northup believes this will improve their chances of receiving federal funding.