I grew up in Carmel, attending both middle and high school here. Yet I was rarely home while in college, spending my summers working in New York City, rural India and Washington, DC. When I completed my undergraduate degree in public policy at Duke University this past May, I moved back home. I ended up finding a great job in downtown Indianapolis, so I've stayed here in central Indiana. Instead of moving downtown, I'm living at home in Carmel to both save money and allow myself more time with family. But moving here permanently meant buying a car - I purchased my first ever this past summer. It also meant heavy rush-hour traffic with few alternatives.
Before discovering that the Express Bus stopped a convenient six-minute walk from my office, I spent about two hours each day battling traffic. Leaving early from home and work to beat the congestion left me exhausted day in and day out. I hated the feeling of sitting aimlessly as my car joined a line of similarly immobile cars, all blinking frantic left-turn signals - but none moving an inch. It was also lonely. Even in day-to-day errands, the driver is isolated in his or her own sphere, moving from Point A to Point B without joining the larger community.
Sitting in Indy's traffic, I missed the ease of DC's metro and bus system. I missed New York's incredible urban network, its people always bustling to their next stop in a mass of hurried humanity. Indianapolis is not going to become New York City any time soon - but that's a good thing. When I take the Express Bus, I see signs of Indianapolis becoming a better version of itself. Mass transit creates communities out of commuters. It encourages residents to spend a little more time reading, or chatting, or simply relaxing. And it's undeniably better for the environment - CIRTA's Commuter Connect charts countless pounds of CO2 emissions saved. Indianapolis has so much of which to be proud. Hoosier hospitality, due to the success of Super Bowl Super Bowl XLVI, already defines our city nationally. As more Hoosiers recognize the benefit of mass transit, we direct that generous spirit toward our natural resources and fellow commuters - and Indianapolis thrives.