CDOT to Host Public Hearings for Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Standards Rulemaking

Last month, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) proposed new transportation pollution reduction planning standards which will reduce pollutions and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, improve air quality, reduce smog and provide more travel options.

The proposal will shape how state and local governments make plans for future projects to make sure there are more travel options and the infrastructures supports cleaner air.

According to CDOT, the draft standard would require CDOT and the state’s five Metropolitan Planning Organizations to determine the total pollution and GHG emission increase or decrease is expected from future transportation projects and take steps to ensure the GHG emissions do not exceed set reduction amounts.

The proposed standards build on the state’s efforts to expand electric vehicles as part of the state’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap, which Gov. Jared Polis approved.

CDOT is accepting written comments on the draft rule through Oct. 15. All written comments should be submitted to dot_rules@state.co.us before 5 p.m..

CDOT is also holding public hearings on the proposed ruling. On Sept. 23, a hearing is scheduled for Denver in the Swansea Recreation Center, to register visit CDOT online.

RTD September 2021 Update: Northwest Rail Study and Service Changes

RTD Approves Funding to Update Northwest Rail Study

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) Board recently approved to study implementation of a peak-service rail schedule to northwest communities and supported most of the 43 recommendations forwarded by an independent accountability committee.

The board members voted 12-3 to spend $8 million to study the plan to extend the commuter rail service from Denver to Boulder and Longmont. <CPR Story Link>

In 2004, RTD committed to building the 41-mile diesel-powered B Line as part of the voter-approved FasTracks plan to build more than 100 miles of new passenger rail lines and improve bus service.

RTD staff said the study should be completed by the end of 2023.

RTD Schedules January Service Change Meetings

As the Regional Transportation District (RTD) plans for adjustments and modifications for January services, staff are looking for input from the public!

Information on specific adjustments will be available closer to the meeting dates.

Meeting dates and times include:

Join Commuting Solutions and RTD for a “How to Ride” Webinar

Have questions about booking a trip with RTD? Commuting Solutions and RTD have partnered with the City of Lafayette, City of Longmont, City of Louisville, Town of Superior and the City and County of Broomfield to host a virtual “How to Ride” RTD Webinar.

The free virtual session will allow participants to learn about booking a trip with RTD, ways to purchase tickets, information about COVID protocols and much more!

Register for free today!

RTD August 2021 Update: Service Changes and Rides to Broncos Game

RTD Services Changes Scheduled for Next Month

The Regional Transportation District’s proposed service changes are scheduled to take effect on Sept. 5.

For more information about those changes, visit RTD’s site.

Use RTD to Get to Broncos Games This Season

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) wants Broncos fans to know RTD’s services remain a safe and reliable way to access the stadium!

BroncosRide bus service has remained suspended, several local bus routes will be available and RTD will scale up rail service to add capacity as necessary to accommodate extra customers.

Light rail service directly serves Empower Field at Mile High, while several bus routes and commuter rail service connects to Denver Union Station.

For more information, and routes, visit RTD online.

INVEST in America Act to Include Funding for Northwest Metro Region

The U.S House of Representatives voted earlier this month to approve an infrastructure bill which includes nearly $20 million for three transportation projects.

The INVEST in America Act will provide the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Denver Department of Transportation and Regional Transportation District (RTD) nearly $20 million to help realign I-25, make improvements to Denver’s light rail and to the 16th Street Mall.

Specifically, the legislation will provide:

  • $5.5 million to CDOT to consolidate rail tracks away from I-25
  • $6.5 to Denver Department of Transportation to revitalize the 16th Street Mall
  • $7.9 million to RTD to replace miles of the light rail track, switches and concrete flatwork

Gov. Jared Polis Signs Front Range Passenger Rail Bill

Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law this month which will create a special taxation district for the Front Range Passenger Rail.

Senate Bill 238 will also form a board which will be tasked with getting the new train up and running. The board will consist of 17 members, six of whom will be appointed by the governor, and will have the ability to enact a new sales tax of up to 8 cents on every $10 purchase to pay for the train, according to a news story.

The board will have to be appointed by April 1, 2022.

The taxation district will run along I-25 from Wyoming to New Mexico and include all of Denver, Jefferson, Broomfield and Douglas counties and parts of Larimer, Weld, Boulder, Adams, Arapahoe, El Paso, Pueblo, Huerfano and Las Animas counties.

The Colorado House voted 40-25 to pass the Bill, and it was cleared by the Senate by a 25-9 vote.

A Message from the Executive Director: Employee Traffic Reduction Program

Audrey DeBarros HeadshotNext month, the Air Quality Control Division will be holding a two-day rulemaking hearing to discuss the Employee Traffic Reduction Program (ETRP), which will affect businesses across the northwest metro region.

ETRP is a new rule that is being proposed by two organizations, the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division (ACPD) and was included in Gov. Jared Polis’ Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap.

The rule will set goal for large employers to achieve reductions in the number of employees who drive alone, or “single-occupant vehicle” (SOV) employee commutes.

A program that offers telecommuting, public transit, ridesharing or other means not only benefits air quality, but it can also improve employee wellness, retention and company culture.

As a Transportation Management Organization (TMOs), Commuting Solutions is committed to successful, business friendly, ETRP that can reduce vehicle miles traveled and achieve Greenhouse Gas reductions.

As TMOs, we want to see the business community be successful, we want to help employers improve the quality of life for their employees through innovative commuting programs such as ETRP.

The rulemaking hearing will take place from Aug. 18 to 20.

Since early 2020, Commuting Solutions began working with other TMOs to explore the ETRP and how it could work and effect businesses, as well as creating a business-friendly role in the northwest metro region. We plan to create an employee portal to make it easy for employers to implement the new rule.

Commute with Style: Carpool and Vanpool for Employees

As your workplace returns to the office, now is the perfect time to make your commute more sustainable! Two easy options to get started is by carpooling and vanpooling!

Why You Should Carpool

Carpooling is an easy way to share a ride, which will help reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in the region!

Carpooling helps the environment but can also benefit those in the car! Sharing rides save money, time and helps reduce stress.

How to Get Started with Carpool

For those who commute throughout the Denver metro region can use resources such as MyWaytoGo.org! My Way to Go, in partnership with the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), can help find registered users who are either part of an existing carpool or looking for a carpool buddy.

When you register with MyWaytoGo, you are entered into a database with more than 10,000 users.

To find your best carpooling option, enter your starting location, ending location and the details for when you want to meet. The site will show you existing pools and you can communicate with those members to get your carpool going!

If you’re currently seeking to fill your car, MyWaytoGo can also help! Register your carpool and others can sign up to join!

Why You Should Vanpool

Vanpools are a great way to commute if you’re driving 15 miles or more to work one-way. Passengers share the ride, which seats from five to 15 people and pay a monthly fee that covers the cost of fuel, insurance and vehicle maintenance.

Vanpools help reduce the amount of vehicles on the road, which also improves air quality!

How to Get Started with Vanpool

For commuters who travel around the Denver metro region, MyWaytoGo.org resource is the place to start!

My Way to Go, in partnership with the DRCOG can help find registered users who are either part of an existing carpool or looking for some vanpool buddies!

My Way to Go vanpools operate through Commute with Enterprise, the largest vanpool provider in North America.

For those who live in the North Front Range region such as Berthoud, Fort Collins, Greeley, Johnstown and Loveland, check out VanGo, a vanpool program for the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization.

How Carpool and Vanpool Can Save You Money

Did you know that there is a pre-tax commute benefit? The IRS Code, section 132(F) allows employees to use pre-tax salary towards their transit and vanpool commuting costs.

Commuter benefits, or transit benefits, are an employer-based provided package that helps offset the cost for employees to get to work. Just like a Health Savings Account, retirement plan, commuter benefits are a tax-savvy, morale-boosting, mobile-centric way for employees and employers to choose smart commute options and save money!

Commuter benefits include parking benefits, transit benefits, vanpool benefits and bicycle commuting benefits!

The IRS allows employers to withhold a set amount of employee’s pre-tax income for vanpool commuting costs too! This lowers the employee’s taxable income, which will add money to your pocket!

Employees may also provide a monthly fare subsidy as part of the qualified IRS Transportation Fringe Benefit, under the section 132(F) of the IRS tax code.

What to Know Before You Carpool or Vanpool

Some important things to discuss prior to beginning your commute include:

  • How long will you wait on late arrivals?
  • What happens if someone has to stay late at work?
  • How will you track trips and payment?
  • What days will you carpool? Will this be an everyday carpool/vanpool, or just a couple days a week?
  • Who is responsible for driving, and which days? How will driving duties be split up?
  • Who will be responsible for taking the van (for vanpool) in for maintenance?

Establishing rules up front will help ensure you and your carpool and vanpool buddies will have a smooth ride together!

Commuting Solutions can help you and your team figure out the best commuting options! Contact us by emailing jillian@commutingsolutions.org with any additional questions you may have about carpooling or vanpooling!

Traveling from Denver to Boulder, Ways to Get Around

Whether you’re commuting from Denver to Boulder, or going for a fun afternoon activity, there are multiple ways to get there. From riding the bus, riding your bike, or taking a carshare ride, you can travel along US 36 more sustainably!

Riding Your Bike Along the US 36 Bikeway

If you want to op-out of taking your car, another great option is a longer bike ride! Cycling to work is one of the most powerful ways to positively impact our region’s traffic congestion and air quality.

It’s never been easier with resources such as the US 36 Bikeway and the Bike Northwest Interactive Map!

Before you hit the road, follow these tips:

  • Map your route – map your route then trace those steps as a pedestrian or in a car.
  • Gear up – Set yourself up for success and enjoy your ride with the proper gear! Head to your local bicycle shop where employees can help you pick the perfect gear.
  • Safety – Learn the proper hand signals and how your helmet should fit before hitting the road.
  • Find a safe place for your bike – Ensure there is a bike rack you can use once you reach the office or be able to store it inside the building.

Combining Bicycling and Public Transit Along US 36

Want to use both your bicycle and public transportation? Bike-n-Ride Shelters at RTD stations can help you achieve your goal!

Bike-n-Ride Shelters provide long-term, secure and weather-protected bicycle storage for commuters making connections to and from local or regional transit routes. The Bike-n-Ride program makes it easy to combine bus trips and bike rides by using the shelter to complete the first or final mile of your commute.

To use a shelter, visit Commuting Solutions’ Bike-n-Ride webpage to apply today!

Along the US 36 corridor, there are multiple Bike-n-Ride Shelters:

  • Broomfield (Westbound US 36 & Broomfield) OPENS 2021
  • Westminster (Eastbound US 36 & Sheridan) OPENS 2021
  • Superior (US 36 & Eastbound McCaslin)
  • Louisville (US 36 & Westbound McCaslin)
  • Hover Street & Highway 119/Diagonal in Longmont
  • 30th Street & Diagonal Hwy, North Boulder
  • 8th & Coffman, downtown Longmont
  • US 36 & Table Mesa Station (near gate C)
  • Downtown Boulder Station – Walnut and 14th Street

Take the Flatiron Flyer

If you prefer to sit back and enjoy the scenery, or get some work done, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) has you covered!

RTD’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service, the Flatiron Flyer is the first BRT to connect Denver with the northwest metro region’s businesses, federal institutions and the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Riders have access to downtown Boulder, downtown Denver, the Anschutz Medical Campus, Denver International Airport and many more connections!

The Flatiron Flyer offers commuters a reliable ride every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 15 minutes off-peak, Monday through Friday. On the weekends, the Flatiron Flyer offers commuters a reliable ride every 15 minutes during peak hours on Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sunday.

The 2021 Flatiron Flyer fares are:

  • $3 for a local three-hour pass
  • $5.25 for a regional three-hour pass
  • All trip fares can be calculated online with RTD

Flatiron Flyer Routes include:

  • Route FF1 – travels between Union Station and Downtown Boulder station.
  • Route FF3 – Travels from Broomfield to Union Station with stops at US 36 & Church Ranch Station and US 36 & Sheridan Station.
  • Route FF5 – Downtown Boulder Station to Anschutz

Currently, Routes FF2, FF4, FF6 and FF7 are suspended.

Using RTD’s Trip Planner also allows riders to plan their trips and provides real-time updates on the services.

Sharing Your Route

Whether you’re driving your car, being picked up by your co-worker, sitting in a van or using an app to order your ride, there are multiple options to get from home to work.

Carpool allows you to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in the northwest metro region! Carpooling not only benefits the environment but benefits you! Sharing a ride saves you time, money and reduces stress.

Resources such as MyWaytoGo.org can help you find registered users who are part of an existing pool or looking for a carpool buddy. More than 10,000 people are currently registered!

Vanpools are the perfect commute option for commuters who travel more than 15 miles to work one-way. Passengers share the ride in a van, which can seat up to 15 people, and pay a monthly fee that covers the cost of fuel, insurance and vehicle maintenance.

Vanpools help reduce the number of vehicles on the road, and allows the riders to ride the US 36 Express Lanes for free!

Resources such as MyWayToGo.org can help you find registered users who are part of a pool or looking for a buddy! My Way to Go Vanpools operate through Commute with Enterprise.

If you’re ordering your ride through a mobile app with Uber or Lyft both allow riders to reduce costs and carbon emissions by sharing a ride with someone going the same direction.

Uber POOL provides riders a carpooling service which helps reduce the cost of travel as well as carbon emissions by sharing a ride.

If you want to use a car, but don’t own one, an option is to use a car-share service!

Colorado Carshare is a local 501(c)(3) car-sharing organization which provides alternatives to individual car ownership.

Incentives to Commuting

Did you know there are incentives to commuting with others? Check out Commuting Solutions’ blog post about commuter benefits, transit benefits!

Resources:

RTD’s fare calculator
RTD’s Flatiron Flyer
FF1 Schedule
FF3 Schedule
FF5 Schedule
US 36 Bikeway
Bike-n-Ride Shelters
Boulder County Bike Map
Denver Bike Map
MyWaytoGo.org
Commute with Enterprise
Innovations in Transportation

Regional Transportation District (RTD) Updates: June 2021

Regional Transportation District (RTD) to Discuss September Service Changes

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) announced it will be discussing potential September service changes during virtual public hearings on June 28, July 1 and 7.

For more information, and to attend the meeting, visit RTD online.

Regional Transportation District (RTD) Lifts Capacity Limits on Vehicles

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) announced it lifted its capacity limits on vehicles as June service changes took effect on June 13.

The service adjustments support modest increases in ridership, improve on-time performance and increase service reliability. For more information, visit RTD online.

Regional Transportation District (RTD) to Speak about Safety, Security 

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) will hold two virtual meetings to allow the public to learn about safety, security and operations.

The following RTD staff members will be in attendance:

  • Mike Meader, Chief Safety and Security Officer
  • Bob Grado, Transit Police Chief
  • Michael Ford, Chief Operations Officer
  • Fred Worthen, Assistant General Manager of Bus Operations
  • Dave Jensen, Assistant General Manager of Rail Operations
  • Danielle Jones, Social Worker and Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner

For more information, visit RTD online.

RTD Seeks Input from Public to Achieve Vision

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is working to create a long-term plan/vision for the agency. Reimagine RTD kicked off in late 2019 but was put on hold due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic until February.

Reimagine RTD provides an objective, data-driven process to engage customers, regional partners, employees and community members in a discussion about how to address challenges and to determine RTD’s role in meeting the long-term mobility needs of the region.

Two main elements of the planning effort include developing a near-term “System Optimization Plan” and creating a longer-term visionary “Mobility Plan for the Future.”

Currently, RTD is seeking input from the public to help develop a roadmap to achieve the vision set by RTD’s principles.

For more information, visit RTD online.

Regional Transportation District Update: May 2021

RTD Begins Fare Study

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is embarking on a comprehensive, systemwide study of its fares and a fare equity analysis.

The process is expected to take, a minimum, 18 months and will be the first of its kind for RTD. It will include comprehensive public involvement to gain input and feedback from customers, local leaders and agency employees.

RTD follows a fare structure that was implemented in 2016, with fare levels in three categories: Local, Regional and Airport. The RTD Board approved revisions to the agency’s fare structure and pass programs in September 2018 that was implemented in 2019.

For more information, visit RTD’s website.

RTD Service Changes Begin Next Month

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) will implement service changes to bus routes and rail lines on June 13.

To support modest increases in ridership, improve on-time performance and increase service reliability while accounting for required social distancing on vehicles per COVID-19.

To view the list of service changes, visit RTD online.

RTD Seeks Input from Public to Achieve Vision

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is working to create a long-term plan/vision for the agency. Reimagine RTD kicked off in late 2019 but was put on hold due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic until February.

Reimagine RTD provides an objective, data-driven process to engage customers, regional partners, employees and community members in a discussion about how to address challenges and to determine RTD’s role in meeting the long-term mobility needs of the region.

Two main elements of the planning effort include developing a near-term “System Optimization Plan” and creating a longer-term visionary “Mobility Plan for the Future.”

Currently, RTD is seeking input from the public to help develop a roadmap to achieve the vision set by RTD’s principles.

For more information, visit RTD online.