May 30, 2024 - News

Indianapolis has a not-great clean transit score

Illustration of a bus with both thumbs up and thumbs down in the destination ticker.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The Indianapolis metropolitan area is among the nation's worst for clean transit, according to a new index ranking cities by the impact of local transportation on greenhouse gas emissions.

Why it matters: Cities nationwide are trying to preserve the pandemic-era drop in vehicle emissions as traffic returns nearly or entirely to pre-COVID levels.

State of play: The Indianapolis metropolitan area — which includes Indy, Carmel and Anderson — came in 66th overall in the Transportation Climate Impact Index created by transportation intelligence firm StreetLight Data.

  • The analysis looks at several factors, including overall vehicle miles traveled, vehicle fuel efficiency, transit ridership and electric vehicle adoption in the region.

How it works: StreetLight's team ranked the 100 most populous U.S. metros based on each factor individually, then created a weighting system to rank cities based on the overall climate impact from transportation.

  • Vehicle miles traveled carried the most weight, followed by fuel economy and transit ridership.

Zoom in: Indianapolis' biggest clean transit challenge comes from high truck travel, a category in which we ranked 91st.

Yes, but: The Indianapolis metro was 8th overall when ranking the year-over-year percent change in miles traveled, the category granted the most weight in the analysis.

Zoom out: The San Jose metro ranked highest in several categories, including vehicle miles traveled, fuel economy and EV adoption.

  • New York took the lead in transit ridership and bicycle use.
  • Orlando, meanwhile, came in first for pedestrian activity, while Baltimore had the biggest decrease in overall vehicle miles traveled.
  • The Augusta, Georgia; Omaha, Nebraska; and Columbia, South Carolina metros sit at the bottom of StreetLight's overall ranking.

The bottom line: StreetLight reports seeing "signs of progress in many cities throughout the U.S., whether increasing bike lanes to improve connectivity, or improving congestion without adding lanes, or laying the groundwork for robust EV-charging networks."

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