I stumbled upon some old maps of Indianapolis’ past transit glory from this site. It’s a bit difficult to navigate, but there is a wealth of information here.

Here’s my favorite: The streetcar system in 1923, the last year before bus service:

Comments 12

  • That picture bums me out every time I see it. Bring back the trains!

  • No kidding! Before they tore up Washington Street for that new construction project you could see the old tracks just sitting there unused. One more vote for the trains!


  • I’m a big proponent of light rail transit, but I’m not so sure that busses aren’t a better alternative than streetcars. The streetcars are definitely more nostalgic, but also very expensive. I think that if busses were jazzed up a bit and the downtown bus stops were upgraded, then people wouldn’t think of them as so bad. The truth of the matter is that we don’t have the streetcars anymore, but we do have the busses. Let’s make the most of what we have.

  • I agree with you…

  • @graeme:

    Thank you for the rational statement. I am actually about to do a write-up on the subject of light-rail/bus transit, and in researching it I came across a very interesting note. Most transit systems in the US on net save neither energy nor greenhouse emissions in their rated life due to the incredible costs(in terms of money, energy, and CO2) to build rail systems. Buses are almost always better as they came ready to go and buses can be scaled appropriately to their route’s demand and can be flexible in altering the routes to accomodate changing market conditions.

    We have buses, though we could use many more. We could devote our current stock of 40/35 seat Low Floor Gillig’s to main corridor/express service lines, while buying a new stock of smaller buses(anything from 15 seat converted Sprinters to 29 seat BRTs from Gillig) for feeder routes or support routes. The key is matching bus size to average load to maximize efficiency. Switching to NGV should also prove helpful.

  • Just wanted to mention that CNN today has an article on the best and worst cities to weather an oil crisis based on walking, transit, biking, etc, and Indianapolis ranks 46th/50, Louisville I think is 47th or 48th. Pretty interesting.

  • Yup, anon, that’s one of the major reasons I started this blog. We’ve got a long ways to go but at least we are thinking about it.

  • Snow-belt cities are always going to rate low on biking/walking to work.

    Consider the number of rain and snow and ice days, along with mornings like today where it’s already 80 degrees and humid at 8am. Without doing a detailed analysis of rain/snow days and temperature extremes, I’d guess that for most of us who work in offices “outdoor” commuting of any kind is practical for maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of working days.

    I agree with speedblue…a better-designed bus system grid (as opposed to the current hub-and-spoke) is probably the way to go. It shouldn’t take most of an hour to get 6 miles inside Center Twp. during rush hour.

  • I agree with all of that thundermutt, however some of the best cities in the world for biking and walking are in dreary northern Europe. Where they benefit is in their density, and I don’t think we’ll ever be as dense as they are.

  • A rail transit system for Indinapols Metroplex would not work, there is not enought density of population as in NYC, Chicago,Boston, Philly. I have always advocated a busway system for Indianapolis like Port authority Transit in Pittsburgh

  • This is a reply to Kevin. Kevin don't be too sure Indianapolis can be pretty dense at times

  • This is for Speedblue 47 you are soooo right buses are the way to go for Indianapolis. rail transit be it heavy rail or light rail are just not going to work in Indinapolis.In point of fact no mass transit system pays for its self.I think that most people when they think of mass transit think exclusively of a rail system. Nothing could be farther from reality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *