Guest Blog by Bill Sirois, Senior Manager - Transit Oriented Communities, RTD
With five new transit lines opening in 2016, the availability of transit options is going to expand exponentially over the next 12 months. RTD opened the Flatiron Flyer BRT service along the US 36 Corridor in January. The University of Colorado A-line will start revenue service on April 22, taking passengers from Denver Union Station (DUS) to the Denver International Airport (DIA) in 37 minutes. The B-line between DUS and Westminster will start this summer, while the G-line between DUS and Wheat Ridge and Arvada will start in the fall. Finally, the R-line, which will connect RTD’s Nine Mile station to Peoria and the University of Colorado A-line, is expected to start revenue service in late 2016.
With all this new transit what does it truly mean for mobility in the Denver region? The RTD rail and bus network provides the backbone for enhancing future mobility, but much more needs to happen to truly realize the benefits of transit. RTD has and continues to explore partnerships with others to enhance connectivity and mobility to our system. RTD has worked with B-Cycle, Car-to-Go and others to provide space at RTD facilities to provide better connectivity to neighborhoods surrounding RTD stations. RTD is also working on a partnership with Lyft to create yet another first and final option to RTD’s network.
Beyond partnerships with other transportation providers, RTD has worked closely with local jurisdictions within its district boundaries to focus on bike and pedestrian connectivity to the rail and bus network. These partnerships have helped address some critical improvements that have been and will be put in place in with new rail and bus lines developed through the FasTracks program. Examples of these partnerships include a second pedestrian bridge at the 35th Avenue in Denver providing enhanced connectivity between the 38th/Blake Station and the RINO neighborhood and new bike paths along both the West Line and the US 36 Corridor. These partnerships will continue to be essential since first and final mile connectivity remains one of the biggest ongoing challenges for the Denver region.
On the technology side of mobility, things are changing rapidly in the transit world and RTD is trying to keep up. RTD has recently made available real time data for third party app developers which has led to improved connectivity for the daily transit rider. In addition, the City and County of Denver has recently launched its own Go Denver App in partnership with Xerox highlighting the multiple mobility options in and around the City and County. RTD hopes to continue to advance it technology capabilities to create a truly seamless transportation experience with full implementation of a smart card system with the potential for mobile ticking in the future.
The future of transit and mobility is bright in the Denver region. In 2016, RTD is providing a much more extensive rapid transit network to serve the Denver region. Additional transit will also be provided via the North Metro line to Thornton in 2018 and the extension of the SE Corridor line in 2019. With this backbone, the region needs to continue to form partnerships with each other to create more and better connections to transit.