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Meet our episode 37 guest Jerome Horne

Jerome Horne’s love for transit started young so perhaps it’s no surprise that he not only rides transit daily, but he serves as IndyGo’s Ridership Experience Specialist. This role gives him a front-row seat for Indianapolis’s total mobility transformation.

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Episode Transcript

Cohen: Josh Cohen
Horne: Jerome Horne

Cohen: Starting from an email to a transit agency CEO at age 10 professing his desire to work in the industry, to moderating the famous Facebook group New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens, Jerome Horne has been all in on public transit. In today’s episode of The Movement you’ll hear how those experiences have helped him in his current role as ridership experience specialist at IndyGo in Indianapolis as the city undergoes a total mobility transformation. Let’s go.

F: Mobility is an essential component to the cities of our future. To build this future, we need to do more than invest in technology; we need to invest in the people who will make the hard decisions necessary to create vibrant, equitable, and sustainable cities. Welcome to The Movement where we talk to the brave leaders who are effecting change in an effort to build a coalition of leaders who will make tomorrow real. Here is your host, TransLoc’s National Director of Policy, Josh Cohen.

Cohen: My guest today is Jerome Horne, the ridership experience specialist at IndyGo, the public transit agency in Indianapolis, Indiana. I’ve been wanting to talk to someone from IndyGo since I started seeing the pictures and videos coming out of their new bus rapid transit line that debuted a few months ago, so welcome to the movement, Jerome.

Horne: Hi, Josh. Thanks for having me on the show. Really excited.

Cohen: Well, good. Let’s get started by talking a little bit about your role at IndyGo and really why it’s so important.

Horne: Yeah. So I am the ridership experience specialist at IndyGo; and I always joke and say that’s a made-up title, but really I kind of live in this nexus, in this nexus between our kind of public affairs, public relations, operations, IT, planning department. And what I really kind of focused on is the user experience of riding transit. So I’m constantly thinking about what can we do to improve the general public’s perception and just their journey along the way. So I’m looking at things like wayfinding, signage, new maps, technology integration, how can we help people navigate our system, making sure that we have real-time data out there and available through different apps, and always looking at other ways that we can improve the system.

Cohen: Do you get a sense that a lot of other agencies have someone doing a very similar role because I haven’t heard that many agencies that make it maybe as explicit as you’re making it?

Horne: Yeah, I believe it’s a new, emerging role. I have actually ran into a few other people around the industry that have a similar either customer-experience or ridership-experience or chief-experience-officer type role with agencies. And I think transit agencies are beginning to recognize that really it’s important to have someone focused on this specifically. So it’s definitely an emerging role.

Cohen: It seems to me that part of what’s missing in transportation especially in public transit is really recognizing that, exactly what you’re doing, which is getting at the very level of the user and thinking it through it from their perspective and really kind of recognizing that, “Wow,” like, “Some of the things that we do for the convenience of the operator or the convenience of the transit agency are actually kind of against what it would be like for a user.”

So maybe even some of the ways that busses are operated or interlined or anything like that where it’s like it comes in and it’s like, “Wait a minute. That’s a different route that comes in that leaves as a different route,” and so forth that, you know, if you’re a general riders you don’t know anything about that. You’re just like, “Well, where’s my 400?” or whatever bus that you ride. So I think that’s a really, really important kind of role that it sounds like you’re trying to fill there.

Horne: Yeah, absolutely. And one thing that really helps is I am a daily rider of our system. So I ride IndyGo not only to and from work everyday, but I try to use it to go for other trips, you know, go hang out with friends, to go to the store. So not only do I work for the agency, but I’m also a regular rider, so that really contributes to me being able to be in this role and do it very well.

Cohen: Do you get a sense on how some of your other local officials like some of your elected officials, so forth—do you get a sense on how much they ride transit and really get to experience what it’s like to be a user on a fairly regular basis?

Horne: Yeah, so I know that some of our elected officials, they ride occasionally, but I don’t believe there’s anyone that’s really a regular rider. And, you know, that’s something that, I think, really across the industry that needs to be brought up, is that it really helps to have the folks that are making the decision, that are crafting policy, to ride transit and experience your city in a different way.

So, yeah, I definitely think we could use more people riding transit, especially our elected officials. But, you know, to their credit until recently our system at IndyGo, which we’ll get into, has not been the most useful transit system in terms of having a reliable, frequent service. So that’s something that we’re going to continue to work on and evolve over the next few years. A lot of exciting projects going on, but certainly with our new BRT there’s been a lot of excitement and interest and people riding transit for the first time or beginning to use it more regularly.

Cohen: Yeah, that’s interesting. I like that as maybe like an entry point for newer folks that haven’t used transit before to use that new BRT as a way to get introduced to IndyGo. Before we move on to the BRT I want to maybe just dig in a little bit more on the ridership experience. Has there been any particular area that you’ve worked on as it relates to the ridership experience that you feel either especially proud of or that you feel like was especially impactful for users? Anything that you were able to—any rough edges you were able to smooth out or any kind of transition that you were able to enable that wasn’t there before?

Horne: Yeah, so I’ll say that everything is always a constant work in progress, but I think one of the first things that I was proud to work on was a program called our Transit Ambassador program. And our transit ambassadors are volunteers, most of which happen to be our regular riders that we recruit and train, and they serve as sort of an extension to our public relations, community engagement department. And really what they do is they meet our riders where they’re at. So they’re actually riding on the buses; they’re at the transit center; they’re going to community events and sometimes even neighborhood meetings. And they’re really getting a pulse and disseminating information but also taking comments and information from our riders directly.

And so it’s really helpful to have those people right there down on the ground level interacting with our riders and being an extra set of eyes and ears for the transit agency but also, you know, providing a level of information to our riders that not everyone always has access to because we know public meetings aren’t necessarily the best way to interact with people or get information. So, yeah, the Transit Ambassador program is definitely something that I was proud to bring IndyGo. And then the next thing that I think is really exciting and working on is just wayfinding, revamping wayfinding.

So, you know, having clear, legible signs and maps is really important to system legibility and navigability. You know, not everyone has a smartphone, but even when you have a smartphone—I know for me when I visit another city I’ll pull out my phone, and I might pull up the transit app. But if I go and I look at that sign and that sign verifies the information I see digitally, that just makes me feel much more confident about, you know, “I’m getting on the right bus; I’m going the right way.”

And so we’re beginning to look at ways of potentially redesigning our bus stop signs. We’ve already redesigned our maps so that they’re color coded by frequency, which is really helpful for knowing which parts of the system are most useful to you. So, yeah, those are some of the highlights of projects that we’re working on so far.

Cohen: That’s fantastic, and I really do think those are important areas to focus on in order to help make it as easy as possible. You know, one thing that I remember someone telling me about—I believe it was a planner at AC Transit. John Urgo, I think, was the first one who kind of mentioned this to me, but once he said it, it made complete sense. Which, you know, he was talking about the Bay Area where they have several different transit agencies, and obviously they have a Clipper card, and so you can use that on all of those different transit agencies but the fare structures are a little bit different.

And one of the things he mentioned was that whenever you open the Uber app it’s the same whether you’re in Oakland or San Francisco or Los Angeles or Indianapolis and so forth; and that was one thing that Uber really got right from a user experience. Like, that was one of the compelling aspects of that that public transit has to overcome. I mean, you have to acknowledge that most of the time when you use public transit it’s not as easy to figure out how to get going. And for folks like you or I, we’re willing to overcome that discomfort to do that because I think we’re pretty committed, but many folks will be like, “Forget this. This is just not worth it.”

Horne: Absolutely. I mean, I agree. I think some of the biggest barriers to using transit are how do you pay for it and how do you figure out where to go. And it’s like every transit system has their own app, or they might have one app for real-time; there might be one app for payment. So one of the things that we’re trying to focus on at IndyGo is marrying all those things together but also making sure that our data is open and available to third party applications that are out there that are integrating real-time navigation and payment into one place. Because, you know, it’d be great if you could just pull up one app and go to whatever city you need to and be able to get all that information in one place.

Cohen: Totally. Well, let’s transition a little bit right now to what’s going on there in Indy. So you’ve got a lot of stuff going on, obviously the BRT—the Red Line opened a couple months ago—Indy Connect as well, and probably more stuff that I don’t even know about. So I’d love to maybe get—maybe give an introduction to maybe what’s going on with Indy Connect and the Red Line BRT. And then maybe kind of share a little bit about what led to that, to all this good stuff that’s going on right now in Indianapolis. What kind of led to that?

Horne: Yeah, so we are essentially in a total transit transformation or mobility transformation in the City of Indianapolis right now. So, as you mentioned, we opened the Red Line bus rapid transit, which is the nation’s first all electric bus rapid transit line, a 13 mile corridor that really cuts right through the center of the city in the densest corridor in the State of Indiana. It’s really where the most jobs and residents are within the City of Indianapolis.

And that is intended to serve as the central spine of a much larger plan, which was formed out of the Indy Connect plan. And that plan will redesign the entire bus system, increasing the frequency so that over half the system runs every 15 minutes or better, making sure every route runs every day earlier and later. And then we’re also going to build two other BRT lines, the Purple Line and Blue Line as well, so we’ll have over 60 miles of bus rapid transit in the next six years or so in addition to a redesigned bus network.

And so a lot of this was born out of—there was the Central Indiana Transit Task Force that was formed quite some time ago. And basically that group came together to study, “Hey, what would better transit and mobility look like in Central Indiana?” because that was one of the areas that the business community and a few other sectors recognized that we were weak in. We were good at moving people; we have a lot of roads and highways; we move a lot of freight, but we weren’t good at moving people. And so that was definitely a need, but that need did not have a dedicated funding source.

So we had a lot of studies that were done. We had Jarrett Walker come in do a comprehensive operational analysis for us and helping us redesign our bus network, but we just didn’t have a way to fund redesigning the network and building out some capital projects. So a good partnership between kind of the private business sector kind of went out and went to the statehouse and began to figure out how we could find a funding source. And then our local—the transit agency IndyGo, another regional partner called the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority, and our metropolitan planning organization all got together on the public side and began to hold meetings and do public education.

So eventually in 2014 the state legislature passed legislation that allowed us to hold a local referendum, and so that referendum was put on the ballot in November of 2016, and it passed in the City of Indianapolis 60 to 40, which was a clear majority and showed that the public was on board for better transit. And so that led to where we are today with what we call the Marion County Transit Plan, and, as I mentioned, all the other aspects of the three BRT lines, the system redesign. But we’re also working on what we call the Personal Mobility Network, and we have a shared-use mobility program, so we’re looking beyond traditional transit.

So we’re trying to figure out, you know, where does it make sense to run a 40-foot bus. And we’re running a 40-foot bus where a 40-foot bus or we’re putting a BRT line where a BRT line makes sense, but the City of Indianapolis is 400-square miles, and there is farmland literally within the city boundaries. So in that 400-square miles we have a population of about 870,000. So to give people a comparison, the City of Chicago geographically is about half the size, but they have more than three times the population. So Indianapolis is not very dense, and so that leads to some geospatial challenges riding transit and mobility.

So beyond traditional transit we are looking at ideas of maybe there are partnerships with TNCs; perhaps there are small shuttle van services that run out to less dense areas. We’ve also partnered with Ford Mobility* to crowdsource ideas from the public, and we should be getting the results from that in a few months there. And some of those projects will be selected for pilot projects to solve mobility solutions. So we’re really trying to take kind of a comprehensive approach of running traditional transit where it makes sense and also looking at other ideas to provide mobility resources to the community.

Cohen: The thing that kind of jumps out there—I mean, you’ve got these task forces; you have all these different kind of MPOs and MPO all these different groups all working together. I guess I’m really—you know, those kind of groups get together all the time. Right? I guess I’m trying to figure out was there a catalyzing event, was there a catalyzing leader that really kind of helped kind of push this forward in a way that kind of moved when it hadn’t in the past. Right? You know, maybe traffic got so bad. I guess I’m really trying to dig for, like, what was different this time.

Horne: Yeah. So for us—and so it should be important to note that this was our first attempt at a transit referendum. And, you know, it went through; but really our transit system and the plan was built upon access to opportunity, access to jobs. Traffic congestion, that was never a talking point. That was actually never something that we talked about because we really don’t have real traffic in Indianapolis.

Cohen: Hmm.

Horne: And I say that because I moved from Atlanta a few years ago.

Cohen: Yeah.

Horne: But most people will agree that we don’t really have real traffic congestion, but what we have is, you know, we’re very geographically spread out and sprawled out. And we have a lot of people that work. We have a huge convention industry and hotel hospitality industry.

Cohen: Oh, yeah.

Horne: And we have a lot of people that work very far from where they live. And it was taking some people almost two hours one way to commute. You know, so some people could be spending almost four hours a day commuting to jobs; they can’t maintain those jobs. The system, if your bus route only runs once an hour, it’s unreliable. So that was really kind of the big push, was from some people in the business community and also philanthropy, of really trying to figure out, you know, how do we get people access to jobs and to opportunity. And the current state of transit was just not doing it.

So that was really a big push. And that’s one of the biggest metrics that actually our—so we’re going to redesign the system next year. We’ll do the whole bus system redesign. But currently our system serves somewhere in the neighborhood of about—it’s 14% of households with no cars and low-income households. And when we redesign the network we’re going to go up to about 51% that will have access to frequent transit service, service that’s running every 15 minutes or better. And so, yeah, that was the big impetus for this.

Cohen: I see that with the business sector really contributing to driving this forward in order to get access to all of these folks that are trying to get to work and are having real big challenges, it sounds like that was a real big push that helped kind of push that over the top. And I do think that’s important, to have that consistent support throughout the community not just from the political side but also having it from the private sector side and then also from the community side. What was the community engagement like from the standpoint from advocacy or other organizations? Was there a push from there as well to improve the access for transit?

Horne: Yeah, so through the Indy Connect process, which went on for about 10 years, there were several different kind of arms and legs of that effort. So there was the advocacy side; there was a group called Transit Drives Indy that was formed. And then there was the public education side that was IndyGo, the regional transportation authority, and the metropolitan planning organization. We also had the Indy Chamber, which brought together a lot of the business community. So kind of all of those groups were working in concert to really educate the public then and conduct a lot of meetings.

So through Indy Connect we had hundreds of meetings over those years, and that was actually recognized as among the largest public engagement process ever held in Central Indiana over time. And so there were all sorts of—there were very traditional public meetings; there were street teams that just went out to community events and festivals. There were people riding buses and talking to folks, so it was really kind of a concerted effort to really get out and ask people, you know, “What do you want to see in a better transit system?” And we heard from people; they said, “Well, we want better weekend service.” You know, until recently, half the bus routes didn’t even run on the weekends. They wanted better span of service, so earlier and later. They said, “Don’t cut any of my existing lines.” And people wanted to get where they needed to go faster. So those are kind of the big themes that we heard from folks.

One of the interesting aspects—and this is something that a lot of transit agencies are beginning to look at, but we talked about some of the tradeoffs of if we were going to redesign a better network, what would that mean. And one of the tradeoffs is, you know, we can redesign a better network; we can have a lot of the routes running early and later and more frequently, but we may need to space out the routes; we may need to get rid of some redundancy. And so what that meant is were people willing to walk a block or two farther for better service? And most people were on board with that notion of, you know, “It’s okay. I’ll walk a block or two farther, if I know that I’m walking to a bus that’s coming more often and running earlier and later.”

And so with that, that really helped us redesign the network. But we also have to be mindful of aging populations and our seniors as well, that those folks may not have the ability to walk farther, so that’s always a balancing act of when transit agencies are thinking about redesigning their system or moving bus stops or spacing out bus stops. And that’s something that we’re currently working through right now.

Cohen: I think that’s always a challenge whenever you’re doing this type of work, because anecdotally you may hear from that person where this is actually not good, but the flipside is it’s better for most everyone else. Right?

Horne: Right.

Cohen: And, you know, there’s always this tension between kind of what’s good for the community versus what may be good for that individual that you’re engaging with as part of this community engagement process. So I think that’s—I empathize with you that that’s a challenging line to walk. Any tips that you can provide on how to walk that line there with that process?

Horne: Yeah, I think it’s important to be as transparent as you can be with the public and be transparent early on. You know, if there are certain design decisions or things that need to be made, it’s important to say, “Okay. This is where we are, and this is where we can go.” Let people know where they can give input. Don’t just have a public meeting or a public process to check off the box, but let people know, “Hey, this is where you can have an influence. You can have an influence on this station placement or this bus stop here, but the alignment of the line; that’s set. You know, it’s going to run down this street,” and give the reasons why. But, yeah, I think that’s really the biggest part, is just letting people know where they really have the opportunity to have input early on.

Cohen: When I talked with Heather Worthington, who is the director of long-range planning in Minneapolis, who headed up some of their work for their comprehensive plan Minneapolis 2040, on a recent episode, you know, one of the things that really came out of that conversation as it relates to community engagement was if you do the process right and you really are mindful and transparent, like you’re indicating, you know, it doesn’t give you a total freedom there, but it does earn you some thicker skin, if you will. You know, it gives folks—it lets them recognize that even though you can’t necessarily give the answer they want, at least you’ve gone through a good process to get there. And I think that goes a long way, I think.

Horne: Certainly. And I think one thing I’ll ad to that too is really getting to know the different communities and neighborhoods that make up the city when you’re doing a particular project. Because there could be a leader in that neighborhood that is someone that the agency can go talk to, get to understand really what some of the concerns and issues are, but that person could also be a champion for you within that neighborhood or community, really helping to communicate to the residents that live in those particular areas about why this change may be happening or what are the pros and cons and the tradeoffs. But we find that is something that we’re always constantly working on, is building better relationships with those key stakeholders that live out in the various neighborhoods in the city.

Cohen: Totally. Totally. So I think you’ve shared some really good things that are going on in Indy right now. You mentioned the community engagement, obviously the BRT and the referendum and Indy Connect and so forth. What’s missing from Indy and maybe the industry writ large that is needed to take these next steps towards this world that we want to live in?

Horne: This may be an issue that’s outside of our control, but I think it’s something that transit and the transportation industry can influence, and that is really to talk about land use.

Cohen: Mm-hmm.

Horne: You know, I think sometimes we get really caught up on, “We’ve got to build a line. We’ve got to build this project. We’ve got to expand service here,” but at the end of the day I really think we need to have a comprehensive conversation about any great transportation plan is also a land-use plan or vice versa. Because you can’t—people want us to run transit. For example, we have some far-flung Amazon warehouses out in the suburbs. And absolutely there are jobs there that people need to get to, but for the transit agency perspective it was like, “Okay, now we have to run a route all the way out there,” and it does have a purpose and people need to get there, but the resources necessary to get all the way out there and the travel time for the rider are things that maybe those companies or organizations don’t think about.

So even, like, companies and where they choose to locate and their siting choices, those are things to talk about. But just also comprehensively, I think, land use and zoning is key, where we really need to think about especially some of our existing assets. You known, are we really building up to the density that we could be? You know, where are there opportunities for infill? Where can we not keep expanding but rather grow in and potentially grow up? And that’s one of the things that we’re working on Indianapolis, which is the missing piece, is the zoning and land-use conversation.

You know, along these three BRT lines we’re going to have about seven-square miles of land within kind of the walkshed of these BRT lines. But right now we’re having some instances where there are gas stations or self-storage units being built right next to a future BRT station. And so we’re working on that right now. We actually have a really good task force and kind of partnership with the city and IndyGo and other regional partners to talk about land use and TOD specifically.

So I think, you know, those situations are going to be corrected, but then I think that’s really important to talk about too. Because if we want ridership, you know, we’ve got to have people living near the line and working near the line and playing near the lines. And just also for climate goals and things like that, that a lot of cities and agencies have, that’s going to be a big piece of it. So I think—yeah—having a push towards influencing land-use policy is really a place we need to be looking at as an industry.

Cohen: It’s interesting. As you were saying, what I was reflecting on was obviously you had the business community that was such a big proponent and supporter of this investment in transit. And yet, you know, maybe not those same exact people, but the business community is also part of the challenge here in the sense that they’re choosing sites for offices or manufacturing or service work or whatever, Amazon warehouses, that are not in places that can be easily served by transit. Right?

Horne: Mm-hmm.

Cohen: And so you kind of have this yin and yang there that’s really fascinating as I’m thinking through that. And I’m not quite sure how to reconcile that, but it’s just kind of what I was reflecting as you were sharing that. I was like, “Wow,” you know, like, that’s where the incentives that local economic development folks are, you know, kind of impact that, the political folks who certainly want to have the headlines of, “Hey, we opened a new warehouse, and it has 500 new workers, and those are jobs in our community.” They want to have those types of ribbon cuttings and so forth, but the flipside is that’s causing trouble, and it makes your job harder in the sense—and IndyGo’s job harder because it’s a lot harder to solve that. So I don’t know the answer there, but I’m hearing that as part of that as an area that needs to be addressed.

Horne: Yes, absolutely. And so, yeah, like I had mentioned, we have a good TOD strategy and there’s a lot of good guidance now, so now the next step is just getting the city on board and making sure that the right type of development happens along these transit corridors and, you know, not just the BRT lines but even a bus route that runs frequently. You know, those are other areas too to focus on where maybe there can be more affordable housing along these lines and things like that, giving people that access to the frequent network so they can meet all of their mobility needs.

Cohen: Let’s maybe wrap up. I want to hear more about your micro museum that you have. So this is something that Jerome is a little famous for, so tell me a little bit more about this micro museum stuff?

Horne: Yeah. So affectionately known as the International Micro Museum of Transit. It is my personal collection of transit memorabilia. So I have tons of actual transit signs and models of transit busses. There’s light rail trains, subways, monorails. You name it, it’s probably in my collection. But, yeah, I think it’s about 89 different signs, over 125 different models—

Cohen: Wow.

Horne: —and an unknown number of different transit fare cards and maps and schedules. But, yeah, I just started collecting transit signs because ever since I was a little kid I always dreamed that I would collect stuff from transit agencies for whatever reason. And really I’ve kind of built up this collection really just in the last three years. And every time I go to a new city—maybe I’m visiting for work—I try to visit the transit agency, and I ask for a bus stop sign. And sometimes they look at me like I’m crazy, and then I show them a photo on my phone, and they go, “Oh, my God. We have to give this guy a sign.”

Cohen: That’s great.

Horne: And so, yeah, the International Micro Museum of Transit, it has its own page on Facebook, and yeah. It’s just a cool thing, just a cool hobby of mine because I’m really, really passionate about what I do.

Cohen: Now, you mentioned you thought about this from when you were a kid. Like, did you ride a lot of transit as a kid? What maybe led to this?

Horne: Yeah, so growing up I had a babysitter that was sort of like an extended member of the family really. And actually her and her husband didn’t own a car, and we lived in Baltimore at the time, so we would ride around on Baltimore’s transit system on the busses and subway and light rail. And so I was exposed as a little kid to transit, and I was always just really fascinated by transit. And, in fact, when I turned 10 years old I sent my first email with the help of my dad to the then-CEO of the transit agency in Baltimore, and I asked him how I could get his job when I grow up. And he responded with a full-page, single-spaced response, and it was something along the lines of, “Hey, Jerome. Even at the age of 10 it’s not too early to begin thinking about a career in transit. Here are some of the skills you want to have. Maybe you’ll want to go to college and get this degree.” And, you know, at the end it said, “You know, above all, don’t lose sight of this dream. Keep up the good work.” So, yeah, it’s kind of been a fascination of mine since I was a kid.

Cohen: That’s great. That is really, really great. Well, there you have it. If you ever visit Indy, you might need to check out the International Micro Museum of Transit. Obviously it’s got its own place on Facebook, which I guess you could check out even if you’re not in Indy. So Jerome, this has been fascinating to kind of get some insight into your world here. Where can folks learn more about you and your work if they want to learn more?

Horne: Yeah, so if folks want to follow me, I’m somewhat prolific on social media, but you can find me on LinkedIn. Just search for Jerome Horne. I’m on Twitter at @HorneJerome. You can also find me on Facebook at Jerome Horne. So, yeah, those are the places where people can find me. I post a lot about work and about what’s going on in the industry. I’ll give another shout-out. I also help run a Facebook group full of a lot of transit nerds from all over the world called—

Cohen: A relatively famous Facebook group.

Horne: —a relatively famous Facebook group called New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens or NUMTOT. There’s not actually really any teenagers in the group; it’s just a play on words, but NUMTOT is—there’s about 160,000 people that are just fascinated with the topic of urban planning and transit. And there’s always anything from hilarious memes to serous discourse about housing policy or something along those lings. So just another place where you can often find me.

Cohen: And just real briefly on that. What’s something that you get out of that experience, kind of being a part of that group, that is kind of filling a hole that you really wanted to fill? Like what is that—you know, obviously you and 160,000 other folks have kind of found each other there. Like, what do you get from that collection of these fellow transit nerds there?

Horne: Well, one, it’s validation that I’m not crazy. No—[LAUGHTER] No, it’s really great because a vast majority of the people in the group are not professionals. They’re not urban planning professionals; they’re not people that work for transit agencies. Most of them are just regular people, mostly 20-, 30-somethings that are just interested in the subject matter. And what’s been really fascinating over the last almost three years that the group has been around is just watching—you know, we’ve had people that they’ve decided that they want to major in urban planning now.

Cohen: Wow.

Horne: They decided they want to work for a transit agency. And now we have university professors and some really legitimate people in our industry that are actually in the group participating in dialogue. And so it’s really been kind of this place for people to go; they can share ideas, and really it’s encouraging to see that people are concerned and excited about trying to tackle the problems that face us today and that will continue to face us with mobility and housing and affordability and transportation and climate change. So that group has been really great to just bring people together and great networking as well.

Cohen: Fantastic. Jerome, thanks so much for joining me on The Movement. I really appreciate this conversation and learning a little bit more about how you’re helping out on a rider-experience side there at IndyGo and then also contributing to the industry at large. So thank you.

Horne: Yes. Thanks for having me on the show, Josh.

F: Thanks for listening. If you like what you hear, head to Apple Podcasts and subscribe, rate, and review this podcast. You can find out more at or follow Josh Cohen on Twitter at @CohenJP. Be sure to join us next week for another episode of The Movement.

*On March 1, 2022, global technology company Modaxo acquired TransLoc from Ford Motor Company. TransLoc is no longer affiliated with Ford or any Ford properties.