Rapid Transit: Indy to Lawrence!

IndyGo’s Purple Line will provide frequent transit service between Downtown Indianapolis and Lawrence – better connecting you to your city.

F A Qs


Why are we building the Purple Line?

The Purple Line will provide access to work, education, health care, restaurants, entertainment, and shopping. It will serve as an alternative to driving for people of all ages and serve as a cornerstone of a comprehensive set of transportation options serving Indianapolis and central Indiana. The Purple Line will follow IndyGo’s current Route 39 – the highest ridership route. With the Red Line, local route improvements and the density of the corridor, the Purple Line  lends itself to a successful rapid transit project.

Bus rapid transit systems provide many of the benefits of light rail at a fraction of the cost. BRT systems provide increased frequency, reliability, comfort, and convenience relative to local bus services. The permanence of BRT infrastructure supports increased private investment in the corridor, contributing to increased economic opportunity and quality of life.

How much will the construction of the Purple Line cost?

Construction of the Purple Line is budgeted for a $140M.

How is Purple Line construction being paid for?

IndyGo has applied for a competitive Small Starts grant for 50% of costs. Additional funding However, should the federal Small Starts grant not be available, the project will move forward with local funding from the approved transit income tax.

How will Purple Line operations be paid for?

Purple Line operations will be funded through IndyGo’s annual operations budget. IndyGo’s operational budget is derived from several sources, including federal formula funds, the Indiana Public Mass Transportation Fund, several sources of local funds, fare revenue, advertising revenue, and other sources of earned revenue.

Current ridership

Segments of routes 4, 19, 38, and 39 currently overlap to comprise portions of the Purple Line corridor. The current ridership on the corridor is 6,000 trips per day, accounting for 13 percent of all daily ridership within the IndyGo system.

Anticipated usage

Initial, conservative estimates show approximately 4,500 trips per day will be made via the Purple Line based on current demand and travel modeling. It is expected that ridership will grow over time as a result of increasing population and employment of downtown and adjacent areas.

Fares and Fare Collection

The Purple Line will operate under the same fare structure as local IndyGo service. MyKey, IndyGo’s updated fare system, provides off-board fare payment and collection at ticket vending machines and validators at each station. Additionally, riders may use their mobile app or reloadable card to pay and board rapid transit. Cash will still be accepted on board for a 2-hour Transfer Ticket or Day Pass.

Fare Enforcement

The Purple Line will utilize a “proof of payment” system for fare collection, where fares will be paid at ticket-vending machines on the station platform, through a mobile app, or some other form of fare media. To ensure compliance with the fare policy, IndyGo will employ fare-enforcement officers to randomly check passengers for proof of payment.

How will the Purple Line impact local transit service?

The Purple Line is one element of the Marion County Transit Plan; and as such, optimal route alignments are being identified. It is likely that local routes that once traversed the same corridor as the Purple Line will now feed into the Purple Line, providing the potential for more frequent service in those areas.

Local routes will remain in service during construction of the Purple Line. During this time, there may be service advisories and/or detours to limit conflict with Purple Line construction and other construction activities occurring along the route. IndyGo will communicate impacts to IndyGo customers, commuters, local businesses and the general public.

Service Hours, Schedule, & Frequency

The Purple Line is planned to be operational from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and will expand later in to the night on weekends, compared to the existing Route 39. The Purple Line will operate every day of every week, 365 days a year.

A Purple Line vehicle will arrive at each station every 10 minutes during peak service and then slightly adjusted during non-peak times.

Buses/Bus Specifications:

The Purple Line will utilize buses developed specifically for operation on IndyGo’s bus rapid transit lines.. The buses will be 60’ articulated buses with doors opening on either side of the bus. The buses will be fully electric buses with a range of up to 275 miles. The buses will be constructed and provided by BYD.

Bicycle infrastructure:

Buses will provide space for onboard bicycle storage. Bicyclists will board at a designated door nearest the space for bicycle storage; platform-level boarding will enable bicyclists to conveniently and easily roll their bikes on and off the bus. There will be no bike rack for bicycle storage on the front of the BRT buses.

More information will be provided as bicycle storage components are identified.

Additionally, revisions to the Purple Line design now accommodate the development of a multi-use path along the northern side of 38th Street.

Dedicated Lanes:

To ensure the Purple Line remains able to maintain its speed and frequency, eliminate any impacts caused by congestion or traffic incidents, and improve safety for all users in all modes of transportation along the Purple Line corridor, the Purple Line will likely operate in dedicated lanes for the vast majority of the route. Final traffic configurations will be decide on with input from stakeholders, the public, engineering team, and after traffic studies are complete. Dedicated lanes will be marked and striped with “Bus Only” and in some cases may be painted in a bright red color to delineate them from regular car lanes. Emergency vehicles will also be able to use the dedicated lanes.

Electrical (Re)Charging Infrastructure:

The battery capacity of the rapid transit vehicles will be enough to allow most charging to take place at IndyGo headquarters; additional infrastructure will include wireless charging for vehicles and the equipment for three charging pads along battery-powered routes. These wireless charging pads will be installed and paid for by BYD, the maker of IndyGo’s electric vehicles. Rapid transit vehicles will charge for approximately 10-20 minutes at three locations near the rapid transit routes.

Median/Raised Curb:

A slightly raised curb, measuring four inches in height and eighteen inches in width, will be used on segments of the Purple Line with dedicated lanes to minimize potential conflicts between BRT vehicles and cars that could result from a car turning left across a bus lane with a through-traveling bus. To offset the limiting of access to the driveways of residences and businesses along these corridors, U-turns will be permitted at signalized intersections with a protected left turn phased into the traffic signal cycle. To minimize inconvenience and improve safety, traffic signals will be added at five locations along 38th Street to permit left turns, U-turns, and pedestrian crossings.

On Meridian Street and 38th Street, the raised curb will separate the two bus-only lanes.

Approximate dimensions of mountable curb will be 4″ high by 18″ wide. IndyGo has been in active communication with IFD and IMPD about the design of the curb. Both have approved and feel comfortable that their vehicles can negotiate the curb if and when they need to cross it. Additionally, emergency vehicles will also be able to use the dedicated lanes during emergency runs, which enhances their ability to bypass general traffic to reach the emergency call.

Conceptual: Still under design.


The inspiration for the Purple Line station was established through a design competition that took place in the summer of 2016 (more info here). After a public vote and a juried review by a panel of local experts and community representatives, Sean Morrissey’s design was selected as the winner. IndyGo’s design consultants have worked to adapt Morrisey’s concept into a final functional design for actual construction.

The stations will contain several components to make using the Purple Line convenient for passengers and ensure fast and frequent operation of the Purple Line.

Canopy Roof: The canopy structure has been inverted from the original design to help control the flow of rain water to provide for a more convenient and comfortable boarding process.

Lighting: Lighting will be positioned to provide a well-lit, secure boarding area while minimizing impacts to adjacent properties.

Real Time Arrival Information: Each station will be equipped with a digital marquee sign showing real time arrival information for the next bus.

Security: In addition to being well lit areas, stations will incorporate security cameras and emergency “blue-light” phones to report emergencies.

Ticket Vending Machines: Each station will be equipped with ticket vending machines for passengers to purchase fares prior to boarding the bus, which will provide additional convenience to passengers, speed the boarding process, and ensure consistent operations of the transit vehicle. These machines will be equipped to be handle cash and credit/debit card transactions.

The specific technologies to be incorporated into the ticket vending machines – and the fare system as a whole – will be updated following the conclusion of a comprehensive fare analysis and Purple Line operational plan currently being developed by IndyGo.

Windscreens: The stations will include windscreens to protect passengers from inclement weather while waiting for the next bus.


The IndyGo team is committed to working with local businesses and property owners to minimize the impact that construction has on businesses.

During construction, the IndyGo team will also seek to minimize the time that any one place is under construction by completing all construction activities in one location before moving on to other locations. The IndyGo team will also work with neighborhoods and local businesses to ensure there is adequate signage to show how to access businesses during construction.

Businesses with concerns can always reach out to a Purple Line Corridor Liaison (here).

Research suggests that communities with fixed route transit to have lower unemployment rates, lower rates of employee turnover, and higher labor force participation. For individual businesses, access to transit promotes a deepening of the labor pool from which they are able to draw qualified employees. For individual businesses, the long-term benefits of proximity to new BRT services has not been widely studied; the number of variables related to those individual businesses, their financial health before the BRT service, and other factors make it difficult to project potential benefits or impacts to any single business.


BRT has positive benefits for the environment. Research shows that commuters can save hours of travel time by shifting to bus rapid transit; by proxy, this reduces hours that they sit in idling vehicles and reduces vehicle miles traveled. This additionally translates into better local air quality and reduces the likelihood of road fatalities and crashes (more information available here).

Through using electric buses, IndyGo will reduce its consumption of diesel fuel and the emissions that result from diesel vehicles. Further, due to the buses being zero emissions, fully electric vehicles, there is little to no noise pollution, allowing the buses to operate without impacting nearby activities. It is anticipated that at least some of the energy required to charge the buses on a daily basis will be derived from the solar panels atop IndyGo’s facility.


Neighborhood character and context: Nearly all of the neighborhoods along the Purple Line corridor were once served by streetcars and/or the interurban; the urban form of these neighborhoods were influenced – often driven by – these transportation modes. The Purple Line replicates this service.

Investment and economic impact: The increase in transit capacity can also support an increase in investment and employment within the corridor. The Cleveland HealthLine stimulated $5.5 billion in investment after its opening in 2008. Several studies have found that the implementation of a BRT system leads to an increase in the number of jobs within the transit corridor as well.

Impact on crime: The increasing of transit capacity and frequency, and the introduction of new transit service, has not been found to result in an increase in criminal activity. Further, the introduction of well-lit stations with security cameras and other security systems, can result in a safer pedestrian environment. Some studies have shown a decrease in criminal activity following the introduction of increased transit service (research available here and here).

Sidewalks and Connectivity:  

IndyGo is in the planning stage for the Purple Line Bus Rapid Transit Project (the Project), which is seeking funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The Project is a 14.8-mile mixed-traffic/dedicated lane BRT route with 32 proposed stops that would serve northern and eastern Marion County, connecting the Julia M. Carson Transit Center in downtown Indianapolis with the Ivy Tech Community College in Lawrence.

As part of the Project, infrastructure improvements are proposed at Eva Talley Park that consist of constructing a 10’-wide asphalt multi-use path through the park (north side of 38th Street from Tacoma Avenue to Sheridan Avenue) and a 31’ long by 6’ wide sidewalk connecting the path to the park’s pavilion. In coordination with Indy Parks, IndyGo has determined that 13,662 square feet of new permanent right-of-way will be required to construct the multi-use path and 433 square feet of temporary easement will be required to construct the pavilion sidewalk. At the request of Indy Parks, the park’s name stone will be relocated within park boundaries.

Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 provides special protection and requires the opportunity for public input when transportation projects may impact park or recreation resources. The Project would not adversely affect any of the activities, features, or attributes associated with Eva Talley Park. FTA has made a preliminary determination that the Project will have a de minimis impact on the park (impacts to the park are minor in nature).

The proposed site plan for Eva Talley Park may be viewed here.


The impact on adjacent street parking will vary throughout the corridor. During construction, there may be temporary parking restrictions as construction occurs. IndyGo will work with its construction management team to minimize these restrictions as much as possible.

Property Owners:

Research suggests that proximity to a Rapid Transit service increases the property values of nearby properties (a sample of this research includes Bowes and Ihlanfeldt (2001)Baum-Snow and Kahn (2000); Garrett (2004); and Hess and Almeida (2007).


During Construction: The Purple Line team is in the process of finalizing the construction schedule and timeline that will determine when each corridor sees construction activity. As each corridor is under construction, we will work with our construction management team and contractors to target activities within the corridor to minimize the length of time any single area is under construction. Construction of the Purple Line will not result in full closures of any streets on the corridor; there will be lane restrictions in areas where construction activity is occurring.

Purple Line activities will be aligned with other projects to minimize additional impacts on traffic during construction. As planned routes for detours are developed, they will be posted online and through traditional media as well as distributed to community groups throughout the impacted areas.

Following Construction: In modeling the impact of Purple Line operations on existing traffic, we generally found that the Purple Line would not result in levels of service that were below what is commonly recognized as an acceptable level (a level of service D for urban streets), or – in places where traffic already operates below an acceptable level – make traffic congestion no worse than it is.

Left Turns and U-Turns with BRT: 

To maintain on-time transit service, safety for pedestrians and drivers, and traffic flow, many segments of IndyGo’s upcoming Red, Purple and Blue BRT Lines will operate in exclusive or semi-exclusive center-running lanes. This means that the lanes are only for use by the BRT and emergency vehicles, or may only be used by motor vehicle traffic under certain conditions.

When BRT is traveling in Bus Only Lanes, drivers will only be permitted to turn at signalized intersections for their safety. All signalized intersections will include a protected U-Turn phase and construction includes the addition of new signals to improve safety and flow. See video below:

Transit Riders:

Current transit riders will benefit from the increased convenience, frequency, and reliability of a BRT system replacing local service on IndyGo’s busiest corridor. Additionally, transferring from local route service to the Purple Line will improve travel times and decrease wait times. The implementation of the Purple Line will lessen wait times before boarding and will reduce travel times between where individuals board and their destinations.

After implementation, transit riders will have better, more frequent access to additional jobs, major hospitals, three institutions of higher education, a number of cultural assets, and several neighborhoods.

Will the Purple Line impact my property?

Most of the infrastructure being built for the Purple Line will be within the existing Right of Way (ROW). However, the addition of sidewalks and curb ramps where none currently exist along 38th Street will require IndyGo to make improvements approximately 6 feet to 15 feet off the proposed curb line to allow for a 6 foot sidewalk, a 6 foot sidewalk with a 5 foot buffer between the sidewalk and curb, or a 10 foot wide multi-use path and 5 foot buffer. Therefore, the project may acquire approximately 6 to 11 foot wide sections near the roadway from multiple properties. Additionally, some temporary property acquisitions will be required in select locations where needed to assure proper grading from the new sidewalk to the adjacent property.

Project plans are available on the interactive map and show areas that will require right-of-way (ROW) widening. IndyGo staff can clarify what the plans mean for your specific property at a public meeting, via email request, or via phone requests through Customer Service (317.635.3344).

Will the Purple Line require the removal of any structures?

No. Most of the land acquisition for the Purple Line will limited to strips of land adjacent to the street for sidewalks and curb ramps or widening an intersection to create turn lanes.

How does the property acquisition process work?

As of April 2018, the Purple Line has reached 30% of final design.  The public input process is designed to review preliminary recommendations with the public and stakeholders and mitigate negative impacts through design changes. By the 60% design milestone, project plans will begin to solidify and IndyGo will contract with a third party for property acquisition. The process for property acquisition required for transportation projects is strictly governed by federal regulations and state law.  Details of the affected property owner’s rights will be included with the acquisition offer.

  • Property owner is notified by mail that the property is being appraised.
  • The property owner will receive an acquisition offer at the fair market value as determined by the appraisal, and have 30 days to respond to that offer.
  • The property owner can accept, reject, or negotiate the offer.

If an agreement cannot be met, IndyGo may file suit to acquire the necessary right of way. This step would trigger eminent domain proceedings which would include an additional appraisal by court-appointed appraisers.

 What is eminent domain?

Eminent domain is a process that permits certain public agencies to acquire private property for public use through court proceedings, with payment of fair and just compensation as determined by the court appointed appraisers.

How does eminent domain work?

Eminent domain proceeding is a last resort action to be exercised if a mutually agreeable fair market value cannot be reached. If IndyGo and the property owner cannot come to an agreement on the value of the property to be acquired, the court will appoint appraisers to re-appraise the acquisition area and prepare a report of their determination of the fair and just compensation due to the affected property owner. Both the affected property owner and IndyGo has the right to appeal the court appraisers’ determination.

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