Last modified: Tuesday, October 5, 2004
Campaign to increase use of public transit driven by institute in IUís Kelley School of Business
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Institute for Urban Transportation is helping to drive home an important new public awareness campaign to increase ridership on Indiana's 53 public transit systems.
In conjunction with a nationwide awareness campaign sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, public transit systems in Indiana will celebrate Communities in Motion Day on Thursday (Oct. 7).
Indiana Communities in Motion Day will include the premiere of a video focused on how Indiana transit systems of varying sizes, such as IndyGo, Bloomington Transit, ColumBUS and Access Johnson County, help people get where they need to go -- wherever life takes them. This video was funded by a Department of Labor JobLinks grant and created by IU's Institute for Urban Transportation and IU's Radio & Television Department.
Each Indiana transit system and WorkOne center will receive a copy of the DVD and a presentation information pack to help inform potential riders and transit advocates of the benefits of public transportation.
Other special activities for Communities in Motion Day being coordinated by the institute include the distribution of "stress buses" provided to 14 systems that participated in a joint purchase of these giveaway items. They also will include the kick-off of a year-long "Seniors in Motion" campaign in conjunction with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the American Association of Retired Persons and Councils on Aging to promote mobility options for senior citizens unable to drive.
Indiana transit systems provided more than 33.4 million trips statewide last year, a 5 percent increase. "This increase is promising. However, it does not mitigate the effects of higher fuel prices, increased congestion and commuter frustration as they travel to jobs and education," said Betsy Kachmar, program coordinator with the IU Institute for Urban Transportation.
Nationwide, traffic delays in 2002 wasted 5.6 billion gallons of fuel. These delays are estimated to have cost employers $63 billion in lost productivity, according to a recent study by the Texas Transportation Institute.
Many Hoosiers aren't aware that public transit exists in their communities and thus don't consider it as a transportation option, Kachmar said. "To some extent, this is because many transit systems lack resources to sufficiently market themselves to prospective riders," she said. "They get caught up in the day-to-day effort of getting the rubber on the road."
The Indiana Communities in Motion campaign is one of several services provided by the institute's transit assistance program. Its mission is to identify and provide resources needed for safe and accessible public transportation in Indiana through training and technical assistance. The program is funded by the Federal Transit Administration and the Indiana Department of Transportation.