Improving the Commute – and Economic Development – With BRT

Originally posted to on April 15, 2016 by Tom Ewing.

A few years back, Indiana’s Department of Transportation (INDOT) established a website for project information on I-69 and I-465, the outer-belt that encircles Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana’s biggest metro area and capital city. INDOT explained that Operation Indy Commute is an initiative “to strategically eliminate recurring commuting bottlenecks”. Operation Indy Commute costs $65 million for new interchange capacity and access lanes.

INDOT’s focus on commuting is noteworthy. Commuting involves local trips to work, school, shopping, healthcare. Commuting demands a lot of capacity on increasingly congested roadways meant originally for interstate travel. But Indianapolis/Marion County is a thriving region, projected to grow from 934,243 people in 2014 to 951,780 by 2020. People need to move. No one likes to be stuck in traffic. What should they do — take a bus?

Actually, a broad coalition in Indianapolis has a prompt answer: Yes, take the bus. More specifically, get ready to take a bus within the new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system ready to move from planning to construction in early 2017, and ready to ride in 2018.

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