For people who have to travel a considerable distance to get to work, vanpooling is a viable alternative mode of transportation. Lori Kaplan, manager for Commuter Connect’s vanpooling initiative, says that one major goal of vanpooling is “to improve air quality in Central Indiana.”
She adds that the objectives are both practical and eco-friendly. Because these vans hold up to 15 people, “over 150 [single passenger] vehicles have been removed” — per van — from Indiana roads. That amounts to some 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide not being emitted into the atmosphere annually.
* Each rider is issued five vouchers per year to use for a cab in case they become ill or have an emergency at home and need to get back. This also covers one stop (like picking up a sick child from school).
* There are 14 vanpools, totaling an approximately 165 riders.
* Locations can be found here.
Other mass transit and alternative options
Over the years, IndyGo has gotten a bad rap: Too few bus routes, late arrivals are just a few of the complaints. Still, this is our main public transportation option in Indianapolis, so it deserves our attention. The Super Bowl, for example, inspired many to ride the bus — many for the first time. Given the increased attention, IndyGo can only improve. See more here.
Some recent news from IndyGo:
Ridership is up this year by 12.4 percent.
IndyGo will receive 10 million dollars of State of Good Repair dollars for bus replacement. Some 25 buses will be replaced.
IndyGo has a total of 23 electric-diesel hybrid buses.
Adding new routes all the time, this bus service transports people to and from major cities throughout the East, South and Midwest. Other than some spotty Wi-Fi service, there’s little to criticize about this transportation option. In fact, it’s a great ride, either a peaceful alternative to driving, or a raucous and fun community, with a party-like feel. Easy to schedule and the fares are cheap, SUPER cheap if you plan far enough ahead. Check out Megabus for more info.
The Grandmother of Bus Travel, Greyhound is the largest intercity bus company in North America.
When you think of Amtrak, you think of trains, but they offer bus transit as well. Check out Amtrak for information on their 30+ train routes in Canada and the US.
Zipcar is a car sharing network started in Cambridge, Mass., which is driven by a team searching for workable solutions to the problems which come along with transportation, such as congestion and pollution. As of March, there were 18 Zipcars on five Indiana campuses. Members can utilize the cars by the hour or the day, and usage runs around $8 per hour. This is a sustainable alternative for those who do not own cars or do not make frequent car trips. It is estimated that users of Zipcar dispense one-third fewer miles than those who own cars.
Health by Design
This local organization promotes communities where physical activity is an intrinsic part of neighborhoods, transportation systems, buildings, parks and open space. Physical activity, as they put it, “has been engineered out of many parts of American life.” Health By Design wants that to change by advocating for improvement of our built environments to encourage exercise and connection to the community. Their Urban Planning Scholar Series brings experts to Indy to discuss the impact of urban design on health and the environment. Make plans now to attend their Nov. 13 and 14 Striding Toward Healthy Communities conference, held in downtown Indianapolis.
Indy Connect in an ambitious plan to bolster transportation throughout central Indiana. According to their website, the initiative has the potential to “revitalize and enhance neighborhoods and help the region compete for talent and economic investment.” The organization’s goal is to, “connect people to people and people to places” and in doing so increase job opportunities and improve air quality. Their plan calls for several improvements to Indianapolis’ lacking mass transportation system, including rail, roadways, rapid transit buses, bikes, and pedestrian walkways.
Indianapolis is the 23rd largest metropolis in the country but its transportation system does not even rank in the top 100. Indy spends less than a third of what neighboring cities spend on bus systems. If the Indy Connect initiative were implemented, the improved transportation system would make it easier to live in the areas outlying Indianapolis, but work downtown (particularly attractive for individuals living in Carmel, Fishers, and Greenwood who deal with vehicle congestion daily).