Mary B

Resource Proposal #1 (more on proposals)

Type (Biz, Gov, or Soc): Business- no  SOCIETY.

Name of Resource and Citation: Downtown Denver Partnership

“Downtown Denver Partnership, Inc.” 2015.Web. <http://www.downtowndenver.com/category/about-the-partnership>.

McCallum, Aylene. “Making a Multi-Modal City for Millennials.” 2014.Web. Downtown Denver Partnership, Inc. <https://www.codot.gov/summit/2014-summit-presentations/creating-a-multi-modal-city-for-millennials.pdf>.

Topic for Paper: Improving Urban Transportation

In my white paper, I am going to focus on policies to improve the urban transportation in Metro Denver, as it has become one of the most advanced transit cities in the west. With further policy improvements, Denver could set an example for other urbanized areas in the U.S. to imitate.

Your proposal.

The United States is experiencing a shift in transportation preference away from automobile travel towards public transit, biking, and car sharing. Between 2006 and 2011, the total number of vehicle miles traveled declined in 47 out of 74 of the largest urbanized areas in the U.S. While the millennials are leading this trend, there are still significant improvements that need to be made in urban transportation systems to encourage individuals to stop commuting alone by car. Policies not only need to be created to improve transit systems and infrastructure, but also to force people to use the new transit options. However, to force individuals to use the other transit alternatives, the local and state governments must prove that these options are easily accessible, more convenient, and more cost effective. Denver is on its way to achieving this.

Cost effective cracks me up.  Seems a fancy way to say “affordable.”  Why are so many cities seeing declines?  Also, starting in 2006 (as opposed to 2008) is important for this, but it should be continued into 2013 or 14.  You know why?

In 2004, under mayor (now governor) Hickenlooper’s insistence, (that is really his name?) regional voters approved $4.7 billion of new debt for the FasTracks program. The plan included 121 miles of new commuter and light-rail tracks, 18 miles of bus transit lanes, 57 new rapid transit stations, and 21,000 park-and-ride spots. Although the price has since moved up to $7.8 billion, by 2018 all but one of ten FasTracks lines, 18 miles of bus rapid transit, and 95 stations will be completed. Since most of the major infrastructure improvements have been achieved at this point, the problem now has become that the proportion of people in Denver that use buses or light-rail to commute is only 6%.

Ouch.

Denver Commuting Chart

One of the firms leading this transition to a multi-modal network is the Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) that is trying to make Denver the perfect destination for the millennial generation. DDP is a non-profit organization that helps to plan, manage, and develop the downtown area.

This make sit a society source.  Not government.

A presentation by the DDP showed that millennials are attracted to cities that have robust transportation networks where owning a car is an option, and by attracting the millennial generation to Denver, there will be significant economic development within the city. In addition to improving public transit options, one of the focuses of the DDP is to create protected bike lanes. Their research shows that streets that have protected bike lanes installed have seen bike traffic increase 50-200%. Statistics from other cities demonstrate that injury crashes for all road users decrease by 40-50% when using protected bike lanes.

Do they cite from where in report?  You can mine this to find those sources.

What is proportion of Denver population that is Milennial?  Trend?

This additional infrastructure is an important component to the overall transit system. The DDP did a survey that showed commuters under 30 are almost twice as likely to bike to work than commuters as a whole, and when coming to Denver outside of their regular commute, commuters under 30 are over twice as likely to bike or walk than commuters over 30. Although improvements in bike lanes have only started in the past few years, biking is up 42% to 6.6% and walking is up 22% to 4.5%.

The DDP, as a firm resource, provided me with commuting surveys, millennial statistics, current transit projects, and future projects that have yet to be implemented in Denver. In this proposal, I only used their plans for biking infrastructure as an example of the information they provide. From this information, I have a clear picture of where Denver is now in the transition to multi-modal transportation, and from here I can do additional outside research, looking at other states and countries for comparisons, to make recommendations to further improve Denver’s transportation policies. In relation to biases and information reliability, DDP is a good resource as they are a company very much involved in improving Denver’s transportation network.

One thought… does overall urban density affect multimodality?  In European and East Coast US cities, geography often forces mroe density such that mass transit is more attractive.  Denver and many other western cities are more sprawling.

A true “business” source here would be, for example, Denver businesses being for or against this plan.

Resource Proposal #2 (more on proposals)

Type (Biz, Gov, or Soc): Business

Name of Resource and Citation: RTD FasTracks – 2013 High Level Measures Report: Quality of Life

Regional Transportation District. RTD FasTracks – 2013 High LevelMeasures Report: Quality of Life. Denver, Colorado:, 2015. Web. <https://admin.rtd-fastracks.com/media/uploads/main/2013QoL_Document_Final3web.pdf&gt;.

Topic for Paper: Improving Urban Transportation

What is this RTD fast tracks?  Who made this?  Never mind… you explain below.

Your proposal.

RTD is in charge of the FasTracks program in Denver that plans, designs, constructs, maintains, and operates the light rail system and bus system. This year the company published a report on a study that measures the quality of life in relation to the expansion of the FasTracks program. The report details findings concerning directly supported jobs, taxable retail sales, fuel cost, new development, sustainable project features and actions, transit boardings, safety perception, passenger satisfaction, corridor travel time and variability, park-n-ride utilization, and regional destinations served by high frequency transit.

RTD job support chart

Summary of key findings:

Job support – during the difficult economic climate, FasTracks was instrumental in creating much need jobs in the Denver region. The number of jobs directly supported by the program has increased by 43% between 2012 and 2013; from 270 jobs in 2008 to 2,618 jobs in 2013.

Why such a big jump in 2013?

Fuel cost – in 2008, when average gas prices in Denver reached an all time high, there was a record annual transit boardings of over 100 million. As gas prices have leveled off, ridership has remained relatively constant (with only a small increase), which can be attributed to market saturation, consumer acceptance of the current gas prices, and utilization of alternate modes of transportation. Sustainable project features – in 2006, the RTD board of directors approved a district-wide sustainability policy, which increases economic vitality, enhances the social community, and safeguards environmental resources. One of these sustainable features is demonstrated RTD’s energy efficiency measures that include a performance improvement of nearly 26% over the baseline defined by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers), which includes an improved thermal envelope, high efficiency glazing, reduced interior lighting power density, and high efficiency HVAC equipment.

Are there ways to translate efficiency gains into revenue or cost-savings/  If ridership is affected by lower prices, and efficiency gians can translate into lower prices, then maybe there is an absolute gain in revenue due to increased ridership?

Transit usage – over the last 10 years, Denver’s regional population has increased 24% to almost 3.2 million people in 2013. During the same period, transit ridership increased by 23% to over 101 million annual boardings in 2013. While overall transit boardings have increased, boardings per capita slightly decreased in 2013 due to population growth. Travel safety – RTD has worked to make the rail and bus lines safer by building a transit system with effective securities elements such as a security command center, a transit watch program, and a hotline. Corridor travel times – the report provides a chart that compares auto and transit travel times to downtown Denver through various rail lines. Congestion in Denver is predicted to grow over time, which will increase automobile travel times and worsen commutes for auto travelers. Park-n-ride utilization – by 2013, RTD provided a parking capacity of 31,300 parking spaces (4,700 in 2013; 13% increase over 2012) in 80 park-n-ride lots. Park-n-ride utilization has decreased from 75% to 59% in 2013 while system-wide ridership has increased by 3% over the same time frame, which indicates an increasing number of transit patron accessing transit by other means than driving alone.

RTD safety chart

These only illustrate a few of the focus areas in the quality of life report. This report from RTD is extremely beneficial to my white paper, because it outlines the quality of the light rail and bus system as of 2013. Not only does it show where RTD has been successful, it also exposes areas for improvement, such as better safety policies to increase ridership. FasTracks is a big (if not the biggest) component to Denver’s move towards a multi modal transit system.

At some point develop the definition of multi-modal.

While I have found many reports and articles on the transit plans and need for better transit in Denver, this report outlined the impact that the light rail and bus system have had upon Denver inhabitants. Other than the data in the studying being from 2013, RTD is a reliable source as they are a key player in Denver’s transit plans and their information is taken from yearly surveys of transit riders.

Resource Proposal #3 (more on proposals)

Type (Biz, Gov, or Soc): Gov

Name of Resource and Citation: Denver Transportation Strategic Plan

Holloway, Tykus. Denver Strategic Transportation Plan. Denver, CO: City and County of Denver: Department of Public Works, 2008. Web. April 21, 2015. <http://www.denvergov.org/Portals/688/documents/DenverSTP_8-5×11.pdf&gt;.

Isn’t the internet great for finding info?

Topic for Paper:

In my white paper, I am going to focus on policies to improve the urban transportation in Metro Denver, as it has become one of the most advanced transit cities in the west. With further policy improvements, Denver could set an example for other urbanized areas in the U.S. to imitate.

Your proposal.

The Denver Transportation Strategic Plan (TSP) outlines the challenges Denver is trying to overcome with multi modal transportation and their strategies to address these challenges. The TSP gives a case study for each of the different areas in Metro Denver, showing what the strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement for each region; however, I am using this resource on a broader level to address the major issues.

I’m pretty sure it is “multi-modal” or multimodal.

Denver is working to improve the transportation system to ease traffic congestion, reduce consumption of land for parking and roadways, improve community and environmental health, and make Denver more resilient to future social and economic distress (such as increases in gas prices). To accomplish these improvements, the city focused on behavioral, operational, and physical changes to the transit system. Behaviorally, Denver is working to educate and encourage the public use of the new transit options and reduce travel by single-occupancy vehicles.

What evidence is there in Denver or elsewhere about changing behavior?

Operationally, Denver is improving the function and efficiency of already existing transit infrastructure to increase the service life of the transportation assets; this will improve traffic flow, create a safer travel environment, and reduce travel repair costs for the public. Physically, Denver has started projects to create bicycle separations (barriers from the road) and bridges, reconditioned sidewalks to have better connectivity between different transit modes, and upgraded transit services. The improvements to transit services include better service frequency, expanding hours of operations, expanding route structure, enhancing transit stops and passenger amenities, and implementing Transit Signal Priority, an operational strategy that gives priority to the movement of transit vehicles through traffic signal-controlled intersections.

As a resource, the Denver Transportation Strategic Plan shows the state and local government’s long-term (2035 outlook) plan to transform the multi modal transit system in each Metro Denver neighborhood. The plan goes into greater detail of the problems and solutions to each neighborhood’s transit options in relation to the above mentioned focus on behavioral, operational, and physical changes. I will use the more detailed and area specific information in a broader perspective on ways to improve connectivity and demonstrate the transit deficiencies that still exist throughout the region. This resource was beneficial in describing the short-term and long-term outlook on current and proposed Denver policies for improving transit options. The information is a reliable source since it was put together by the Denver City Council Districts, the Denver Planning Board, AECOM, the Denver Regional Council of Governments, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and several other advisory committees. The only inhibitions I have with the plan is that it was created in 2008; however, as it contains mostly research on the transit options and areas for improvement, those would not be influenced by the economic crisis we experienced.

2008 is nor that old.  I wonder if you can find out if the plan is still in effect or has been updated, or even abandoned.  The local paper might provide some coverage.

This resource will contribute to my paper as a basis for future policy implementations for improving Denver’s transportation system. I will be able to look at these policy recommendations and research which have been accomplished and where there still need to be improvements.

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