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IndyGo Purple Line Project Rollout

by: Jack Quigley
In a webinar offering insight into IndyGo’s plans for the second phase of its Marion County mass transit initiative, host Demetrius Glover, Executive Director at ICR, and moderator Bill Ehret, Principal and Managing Director at Avison Young Indianapolis, introduced experts to discuss plans for the Purple Line project and the economic benefits that will arise from its construction.
Dr. Kathleen Lee, Chancellor at Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis
Ivy Tech serves over 25,000 students in campuses across Indiana, offering short-term certification all the way through two-year degrees and transfer degrees for students graduating onto IUPUI and other four-year partners of Ivy Tech.

Lee said the critical importance of a robust transit system is made evident when observing a student population like Ivy Tech’s.

“Getting students to and from campus has always been a priority for us, but we are primarily a commuter campus – much like IUPUI,” Lee said. “We have no residence halls, so everyone has to come and go.”

Some of Ivy Tech’s students arrive straight out of high school, while others come as working adults looking to go back to school and gain additional expertise that will help them in the workforce, Lee said. Transportation represents yet another added expense for students dealing with an already-costly college education process – on average, 18 percent of a student’s living expenses go toward transportation.

“We lose a lot of students to what we call ‘life’, and a lot of times ‘life’ is simply reliable transportation,” Lee said. For us, that’s where the Red Line comes in.

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Lee said the 2019 opening of the Red Line drastically reduced commute times for many Ivy Tech students, and said she fully expects the Purple Line to offer that same convenience to students living in other areas of Indianapolis. By connecting Ivy Tech’s Lawrence Campus to its main Indianapolis campus, the Purple Line will not only facilitate shorter commute times but will also provide students with more opportunities to connect with major Indiana employers.

Mario Rodriguez, CEO of Indianapolis Airport Authority
“Mass transit makes sense from an equity perspective, but let’s step away from the ‘right thing to do’ way of thinking for a second. I’ve been in aviation for over three decades and lived all over the world. World-class cities have world-class transportation systems. Not only an airport, not only connectivity on the roadways, but a multitude of transportation systems. And we live in a world-class city, and it needs a world-class ability to connect its population. And, for equity purposes, it needs a way to connect the population to good jobs.”

Rodriguez said Indianapolis has the eighth busiest cargo airport in the U.S. and the second largest FedEx hub in the world. The Indianapolis airport employs over 10,000 people (pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, hospitality workers, etc.) and represents an economic impact of over $5 billion per year.

These jobs need to be filled, Rodriguez said. Employment centers in and around the airport all would benefit from an increased level of access to workers as the airport and its number of passengers continues growing.

“We will continue to expand the airport in the foreseeable future, and what that represents to the construction industry is a huge economic impact,” Rodriguez said. “For example, FedEx is doubling in size. Right now, on the books and about to be bid, we have about 200 million in airfield work.”

Michael Booth, Capital Projects Director at IndyGo and Purple Line Project Manager

Indianapolis’ all-electric bus rapid transit (BRT) system is set to become the first entirely electric bus system in the United States when it is completed, Booth said. IndyGo’s fully implemented mass transit system will introduce organized public transportation spanning throughout Marion County in the form of a Purple Line, Red Line, and Blue Line. The Red Line opened in 2019.

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IndyGo will soon begin bidding for the development of the Purple Line (expected to be complete around 2023), and further work on the Blue Line will begin after the Purple Line is finished, Booth said.

Purple Line Facts
  • 15.2 miles long
  • 30 station locations
  • 18 stations will be exclusively for Purple Line
  • 90 percent dedicated lanes (exclusive bus use)
  • $169 million project cost (includes professional services, bus vehicle purchases, right of way acquisition, station amenities, and other non-construction costs)
  • More than 25 percent reduction in transit travel times
  • 25 new or upgraded traffic signals
  • 3 miles of multi-use path
  • Add or repair 9.5 miles of sidewalk infrastructure
  • 361 new curb ramps
  • 51,700 linear feet of storm sewer
  • 114,000 tons of HMA pavement
  • Over 50 percent of budget going to supporting infrastructure
  • Estimated construction cost: $80 – $100 million
  • Estimated letting date: May – June 2021 (contingent on local and federal funding)
  • Estimated construction start: Fall 2021
  • Estimated calendar years of construction: 2021, 2022, 2023
  • Procurement method: Design-bid-build with three bid packages
Station Details
  • 18 new center stations with half-mile spacing in between stations
  • Added stations will be located at signalized intersections
  • Stations will include ticket vending machines, level boarding, real-time arrival signs, Wi-Fi, security cameras, snow melt, ADA accessibility, and a nose barrier.
  • “A couple lessons learned from the Red Line: we needed better Wi-Fi and security cameras, which we added to the stations,” Booth said. “Also, stations need snow melt controls where you can turn on the snow melt system and be able to turn it off later.”
Bus Lane Types
  • Mixed traffic (buses in the same lanes as all the cars)
  • Dedicated lanes
  • Dedicated BAT – cars can pull into the lane to turn left, but the lane prioritizes buses (3.9 miles of Purple Line is dedicated BAT)
  • Center Running Dedicated (4.5 miles of Purple Line) is a dedicated lane for just the bus itself (seen along the red line)
  • Bi-directional – buses share one lane in the middle; auto-vehicle locating, GPS ensures the buses are not in the same place at the same time
Equity Access to Work, Home, and Community
53,000 people live and work along the Purple Line:
  • 63 percent minority population
  • 11 percent undergraduate/graduate students
  • 30.3 percent low-income population
  • 134,000 accessible jobs

Employment centers along Purple Line:

  • Central business district downtown – 4 percent of all jobs in Indiana
  • Indiana State Fairgrounds
  • Department of Defense’s Finance and Accounting Services Center (DFAS)
  • City of Lawrence
  • Fort Harrison Reuse Authority (Village)
  • Ivy Tech Community College
Bid Package A – Civil and Utility Infrastructure
Road Work
  • Dedicated lanes
  • Median and raised curbs
  • Curb and gutters
  • Sidewalks and paths
  • Drainage improvements
  • Roadway construction
  • Patching and resurfacing
  • Pavement markings
  • Traffic signals
  • Signage
  • DBE Goal to be determined

Trade Work

  • Right of way clearing/site demolition
  • Erosion control
  • Storm drainage (pipes, manholes, inlets, and detention ponds)
  • Asphalt paving (full depth, patch, mill, and resurfacing)
  • Concrete (patching, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and curb ramps)
  • Pavement markings
  • Maintenance of traffic during construction (signs, barricades, pavement markings, and signals)
  • Tree protection
  • Protection of public service structure
  • Retaining walls (concrete and reinforcing steel)
  • Traffic control devices (signals, pedestrian)
  • Signage
  • Landscaping
  • Stations to be constructed upon completion of road work
Bid Package B – Station and Communication
Station Work
  • Canopy roof
  • Bus pads
  • Station platforms
  • Pedestrian ramps
  • Lighting
  • Real time arrival information
  • Security
  • Windscreens
  • Docking Technology – “One of the additional things we learned from the red line was adding rub rails, which are longer and stronger rails that will be put along the docks that will allow the bus to come in contact with more area of the station and know they are docking the bus properly.” – Booth

Trade Work

  • Earthwork
  • Maintenance of traffic
  • Structures
  • Structural steel, cold rolled framing, rough carpentry, finish carpentry, roofing, joint sealants, doors and hardware, glass and glazing, finish coatings, piping and tube railings, specialty installation
  • Plumbing
  • Mechanical
  • Electrical
  • Communications (communications network, CCTV, emergency phone, ticket vending, passenger information sign systems, public address system)
Prime Contractor Prequalification Process
  • Package A: Contractor must be qualified by INDOT
  • Package B: Contractor must be qualified by IDOA
  • Contractors bidding a Combined Package A and Package B do not need to be prequalified by both INDOT and IDOA

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