Indianapolis Multimodal System Plan

Indianapolis Regional Center Multimodal System Plan

This complete streets/multimodal system plan for the Indianapolis Regional Center provides policy guidance to integrate and balance traditional and multimodal (or alternative) transportation facilities with existing and desired land use patterns.  A complete streets|multimodal system incorporates walking, bicycling and transit access within an optimized transportation network to support placemaking and enhance quality of life within districts and along their connecting corridors. Multimodal corridors accommodate multiple modes and scales of transportation. Their streetscape characteristics guide development towards improved transportation choice and economic performance of adjacent land uses.

Storrow Kinsella Associates worked with the City of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to develop this plan for the Regional Center as a place-specific application of the MPO's regional multimodal transportation planning agenda. It's antecedents are a series of studies developed by Storrow Kinsella for the MPO: The Glendale Special Neighborhood Study, the eight county Indianapolis Regional Pedestrian Plan, the Multimodal Corridor and Public Space Design Guidelines (a subset of the Regional Center 2010 Plan) and applications of those plans' principles for the cities of Carmel and Beech Grove, and for the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

This plan advances the District Nodes and Corridors concept, and its walkability and placemaking foundation, as a specific application of those seminal works.

The Regional Center Multimodal System Plan views the regional center area as a collection of interconnected and interdependent districts (variously described as subareas, neighborhoods, or named districts in community development planning exercises). Some are thriving (conspicuously in relation to efforts such as the Cultural Trail) while other are underperforming gaps in the urban fabric. All possess potential for spatial synergy and social equity in the formation of a healthy regional center. The placemaking and walkability principles of multimodal transportation are foundational to creation of that synergy.

The plan applies those principles in identifying a pattern of walkable scale districts interconnected by corridors that support transit at several scales from regional to circulators. Those places and their central nodes become relational rather than isolated. The scale and distribution of the nodes are based on equitable access to a range of active living resources within a green infrastructure network intended to optimize balanced use of the public right of way. They are also based on leveraging existing resources and identities towards new development and connectivity.


This plan demonstrates the linkage between balanced transportation, quality of life, and environmental health, making the case that without intervention, continued growth in single-occupancy vehicle travel would likely exceed roadway capacity in the not-distant future, impacting economic growth and quality of life in the Regional Center of Indianapolis.  Proposed intervention strategies are based on a conceptual vision of subarea nodes based on existing and potential mixed use density clusters, served by existing corridors possessing transit potential, and distributed in walkable/bikeable patterns.


  • Guide development of subarea nodes and multimodal transportation options (regional bus and bus rapid transit, circulators, bike hub, taxi and rideshare options).
  • Cluster services at the subdistrict nodes to reinforce there destination value (library, schools, housing, park and recreation/gathering places, retail and shopping).
  • Develop district identity and sense of place through high-quality design.


  • Design the public-right-of-way to provide streetscape characteristics that support mode shift.
  • Treat corridors differently depending on the multimodal performance sought.

Project Summary

Indianapolis Regional Center Multimodal System Plan
SKA prime | Year completed: 2009
SKA subconsultant: PB Americas, Inc.
Client: City of Indianapolis, Department of Metropolitan Development

The study was funded by a Federal Transportation Planning grant administered by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.