3 min read

Support for Transit Along the Blue Line

tags: politics


Indianapolis voters went to the polls in November 2016 to vote on a referendum that would expand public transit in the city through new Bus Rapid Transit lines. When the votes were tallied, the result was clear: city residents delivered a resounding “YES”.

Those in favor totaled 59% and those against 41%.

The map below shows the referendum vote by precinct with the color scale ranging from Red (No) to Blue (Yes).

The three proposed bus lines are also shown on the map. The Red Line is already in operation, running from the University of Indianapolis in the South, to just north of Broad Ripple at 66th street. The Purple Line will connect the Downtown Transit Center to Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park in Lawrence to the Northeast. Finally, the Blue Line will run from the far east edge of Marion County, touching Cumberland, to the airport in the southwest corner of the city.

Although voters overwhelmingly supported the referendum, the road to building the BRT system has not been without challenges.

Members of the Indiana state legislature have tried again, and again, and again to stop the bus lines from being built. In particular, the Blue Line. The most recent bill actually attempts to declare where dedicated bus lines can and cannot be built in the city.

Washington St. residents support the Blue Line

There’s evidence that this latest push to kill the bus might be tamping down. But, since we are having this discussion again, maybe we should consider what the people who live along the Blue Line route think about it? After all, they would be the most impacted by changing a lane of Washington Street from car traffic to bus.

Below I have filtered the results down to only precincts that actually touch Washington Street—the road that where the Blue Line bus would travel.

Irvington also in support

Neighborhoods and communities along the Blue Line also stand to gain from this expansion of transit. Voters in one neighborhood along the route, the Irvington Historic District, came out particularly strong in favor of the referendum.

Irvington voters supported the BRT expansion 67% to 33%—8 points higher than the citywide total in favor.

After looking at the numbers, it’s hard to argue against the construction of the remaining BRT lines. When it comes to questions of local infrastructure, it’s best to ask those who would be most impacted rather than listening to those who might be opposed, but are less impacted.

Support for the Blue Line is strong among the communities who would interact with the system on a daily basis.

I’ve created an interactive version of the map here for those who’d like to see how different communities voted around the city.

-Aaron