The Denver metropolitan area is home to more than 2.6 million people. This number represents more than half the population of Colorado, which was the third-fastest growing state in the nation during the 1990s and is the eighth-fastest growing since 2000. Metro Vision 2030, the Denver Regional Council of Governments’ (DRCOG) 25-year plan for growth and development, projects the region to grow by nearly 50 percent to a total of 3.9 million residents—along with 800,000 new jobs—by 2030.
This growth will place a tremendous strain on the region’s already congested transportation system. In its 2003 Annual Urban Mobility Report, the Texas Transportation Institute rated Denver as the third-most congested city in the nation. In 2005, about 1,460 lane-miles of the regional roadway system were severely congested for more than three hours per day. By 2030, estimates suggest this will grow by 82 percent.
FasTracks, the Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) 12-year comprehensive plan, responds to the growing transportation needs of the Denver region by planning new rapid transit and expanding and improving bus service throughout its service district. Currently, FasTracks plans for 119 miles of new light-rail and commuter rail service at a proposed 57 new stations, along with 18 miles of bus rapid transit.
To ensure mobility for it customers, RTD is actively considering Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in the planning of these new stations. The transit agency, local government, private developers, and community stakeholders have planned the best way to implement TOD at and around the system's transit stations. This will be done through private development, capital expenditures and/or joint development for land use that encourages transit ridership through its design, operation and use across the district. The primary benefits of the newly-designed stations include:
- Reducing sprawl and protecting existing neighborhoods
- Reducing commute times and traffic congestion
- Improving environmental quality and open space preservation
- Encouraging pedestrian activity and discouraging automobile dependency