36 Commuting Solutions Goes to Washington, DC

April 20, 2016

USDOT MCC v2

This month 36 Commuting Solutions proudly donned our advocacy hat and joined the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition (US 36 MCC) for an annual trip to Washington, DC (RTD, CDOT and HPTE also joined the coalition on their trip). Each year the coalition meets with a congressional delegation, the House and Senate transportation committees, and even federal transportation agencies! Each trip is focused on building relationships and setting the stage for future funding requests, and this year’s trip was no different.

During these meetings, the coalition thanked congressional members for their support of US 36 infrastructure improvements, found out more about new grant programs and discussed continued investments in the Northwest corridor. When thanking the delegation, we were able to share news of what these infrastructure improvements mean for the US 36 corridor – RTD reports that there is a 45% increase in US 36 ridership compared to August 2015, and CDOT reports that the US 36 Express Lanes have increased travel speeds by up to 29%.

The meetings are not just a time to provide updates, but to advocate for transportation and infrastructure improvements. These annual trips set the stage for acquiring transportation funding in upcoming years, and this trip helped identify 2016 and 2017 funding opportunities for both the US 36 corridor and arterial Bus Rapid Transit corridors. Specifically, we were able to identify both Federal Transit Administration Small Starts funding and a TIGER grant that the US 36 coalition will pursue in partnership with CDOT, RTD and the NATA.

And, while not directly related to the traffic congestion in our corridor, the coalition made a point of focusing on train horn noise and sharing feedback with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on train horn noise and quiet zone requirements (this is an issue specific to the Northwest region, where many residents and businesses are located near the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line).

The trip takes our coalition to the heart of transportation advocacy and legislation, and is a place where opportunities to improve the corridor’s transportation infrastructure are abundant. We left the trip with a number of action items that will help us improve the US 36 multi-modal transportation infrastructure and related technology.

Regards,

Audrey DeBarros

Hickenlooper: Bus rapid transit ‘would probably make more sense’ than northwest rail

Business leaders from Longmont, Boulder talk transit with governor

By Karen Antonacci

Staff Writer at Longmont Times-Call

Business leaders from Longmont, Boulder and Broomfield gathered at the state Capitol on Wednesday morning to discuss rail (or the lack thereof), bus rapid transit and other public transportation issues.

John Tayer, president and CEO of the Boulder Chamber, announced the combination of the three chambers of commerce into the Northwest Chamber Alliance at the mile-mark on the Capitol steps.

“When people bring solutions to the table, they then generally ask businesses to pay for them,” Tayer said. “So we thought we would come together and get a seat at the table early on.”

The group met with Gov. John Hickenlooper and made it clear that the new organization’s first priority is increased public transportation for Boulder and Broomfield counties.

“I appreciate the frustration in how long it’s going to take rail to get there,” Hickenlooper said. “Bus rapid transit would probably make more sense.”

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RTD’s Flatiron Flyer already shows a ridership increase of 45 percent

Average of 14,428 passengers utilize the Flatiron Flyer bus rapid transit service on weekdays, substantial increase in U.S. 36 corridor passenger trips

Denver – The Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) Flatiron Flyer bus rapid transit (BRT) services’ first three months of operation showed passenger trips well above what existed on the U.S. 36 corridor bus routes prior to the start of the BRT service.

The new Flatiron Flyer BRT routes began on Jan. 3, 2016, and have an average of 14,428 passengers per weekday, an increase of 45 percent from previous bus service along the corridor as of August 2015.

“The Flatiron Flyer was our only bus rapid transit service included in RTD’s 2004 voter-approved FasTracks plan, and we are thrilled to see how many people are using it already,” said Dave Genova, RTD General Manager and CEO. “Ridership for that corridor during all time periods is up since the beginning of service, and we couldn’t be happier at the amount of people who are utilizing the Flatiron Flyer for their commuting needs.”

Flatiron Flyer service is comprised of six all-stop and express routes that replaced the prior bus routes that operated along the U.S. 36 corridor. The BRT service runs every 3-15 minutes, depending on time of day and location. In addition to more frequency, the Flatiron Flyer provides an increase of 92 weekday trips and an increase of 42 weekend trips.

The Flatiron Flyer bus rapid transit service encompasses 18 miles of express and high-frequency bus service between downtown Denver and Boulder, with six stations along U.S. 36.

The new service offers a variety of benefits to riders including:

  • Easy connections along the corridor, with service from Downtown Boulder Station, Boulder Junction at Depot Square, Union Station and Civic Center Station.
  • Reduction of travel times due to the bi-directional managed lanes on U.S. 36.
  • Fare zone change to a local fare for service from the U.S. 36·Sheridan Station to downtown Denver.
  • One-seat ride from U.S. 36·Broomfield Station and U.S. 36·Sheridan Station to Civic Center Station.
  • New branded buses that include USB ports and 120-volt outlets for passengers to charge laptops, tablets and smartphones.
  • Enhanced passenger stations with large canopies and digital information screens with bus departure times.

“The Flatiron Flyer is a shining example of what regional collaboration can do to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, foster development opportunities, and enhance our overall quality of life,” Genova said. “As we continue to expand our transit alternatives, the success of this bus rapid transit service lets us know that it is a viable option for future projects.”

About RTD

RTD’s mission is to provide safe, clean, reliable, courteous, accessible and cost-effective bus and rail services in the eight-county district, and fulfills 100 million passenger trips annually. The public transit agency is creating a larger, better and more accessible system through innovation, public-private partnerships and transit-oriented communities.

US 36 Master EcoPass Pilot Program and local employers team together to reduce drive alone trips

LOUISVILLE, Colo.—The US 36 corridor’s recent multi-modal transformation provides an array of travel options, and through a two-year US 36 Master EcoPass Pilot Program, local employers are benefiting from the new transit system being a viable commute option for their employees. The US 36 Master EcoPass Pilot Program was launched in 2015 by 36 Commuting Solutions to provide free RTD EcoPasses to businesses located within walking distance of RTD’s McCaslin, Broomfield and Sheridan transit stations.

A mid-program analysis indicates that with 919 EcoPasses available at 20 businesses, an estimated 63,356 annual vehicle trips were reduced. 36 Commuting Solutions Executive Director Audrey DeBarros points out, “The annual vehicle miles traveled reduced (VMTR) by this group is estimated to be 1,710,601.” DeBarros adds, “This reduction is equivalent to about 69 trips around the earth’s equator.”

The 2015 program results are encouraging and point to significant transportation impacts for the US 36 corridor. In the pre- and post-survey analysis, 36 Commuting Solutions found that once commuters receive their EcoPass, they are reporting 19 percent fewer drive alone trips, compared to before they had the pass; and they are reporting a 111 percent increase in transit trips.

Employers such as Return Path, who participated in both 2015 and 2016, found the RTD EcoPass to be a valuable benefit for employees. Return Path Office Manager Angela Fitzgerald explains, “The EcoPass has proven to be an exceptional benefit for our employees, and provides a transportation option that fosters a lively and thriving environment. When employees are less worried about the time, cost and environmental impacts of getting to and from work, a happier and more productive atmosphere emerges. Our employees have taken full advantage of the EcoPass, and Return Path is excited to partner with 36 Commuting Solutions to provide the pass in 2016 for our 230 employees.”

Eight of the organizations who participated in 2015, representing 360 employees, have continued with the program for 2016. These eight organizations are paying 25 percent of the cost, while grants provided to 36 Commuting Solutions cover the remaining 75 percent. Twelve new organizations, representing 370 employees have joined the 2016 program. 2016 will be the final year of the subsidized US 36 Master EcoPass Pilot Program, as the grant funding this program was awarded to coincide with and introduce commuters to the benefits of the new and improved US 36 corridor.

About 36 Commuting Solutions:
36 Commuting Solutions is dedicated to delivering innovative transportation options that connect commuters to their workplaces, businesses to their employees, and residents to their communities. Through advocacy for infrastructure and transportation improvements, partnerships and education, we create progressive, flexible transportation solutions. Be part of the progress along US 36, visit 36commutingsolutions.org.

Innovative US 36 Congestion Mitigation Program offers incentives to keep commuters moving

Louisville, Colo.—As the US 36 Express Lanes Project nears completion, travel along the corridor is already showing significant improvement. Based on post-survey results from 36 Commuting Solutions’ US 36 Congestion Mitigation Program, a two-year social marketing campaign designed to reduce traffic congestion and raise public awareness about commute options, more US 36 commuters are opting out of driving solo. 36 Commuting Solutions Executive Director, Audrey DeBarros, explains, “To date, the program has contributed to a 40 percent reduction in drive alone trips by those who participated in the program, and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) have been reduced by 12,500. This is more than three times the VMT reduction that had been anticipated over the life of the program.” DeBarros adds, “To put it in perspective, there are about 500 fewer vehicles traveling the corridor each day.”

36 Commuting Solutions, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE), offers eligible commuters incentives to change commute behavior. US 36 Express Lanes Project Director, Scott Rees, says, “From bike to bus to van or car, now is a great time to try a new way of commuting on the US 36 Express Lanes.” Those who want to try RTD are eligible to receive a 10-ride Regional Ticket Book, valued at $40. New vanpool and carpool applicants are eligible to receive a $75 incentive. Funding for these incentives is available through the end of 2016. Incentive program details and the application are available at 36commutingsolutions.org.

Additionally, as a part of a US 36 Master EcoPass Pilot Program, 919 EcoPasses were distributed in 2015 and 733 have been distributed in 2016. An analysis of the 2015 EcoPass program indicates that the annual number of vehicle trips reduced by this group is 63,000 and the annual VMT reduction is estimated at 1,710,000. An analysis of first-year EcoPass participants indicates that drive alone trips were reduced by 19 percent, and transit use increased by 111 percent.

“We are thrilled to see more commuters taking advantage of the incentives program and altering their commuting behaviors. With the US 36 Express Lanes Project nearly complete, 36 Commuting Solutions remains focused on inspiring commute behavior change to maximize use of the new transportation system on US 36,” says Audrey DeBarros.

About 36 Commuting Solutions:
36 Commuting Solutions is dedicated to delivering innovative transportation options that connect commuters to their workplaces, businesses to their employees, and residents to their communities. Through advocacy for infrastructure and transportation improvements, partnerships and education, we create progressive, flexible transportation solutions. Be part of the progress along US 36, visit 36commutingsolutions.org.