(cross-posted from WalkDenver)
This past fall, we partnered with City & County of Denver Department of Transportation & Infrastructure (DOTI, formerly Denver Public Works), WalkDenver, and graduate students in the University of Colorado Denver’s Urban and Regional Planning program to conduct a bus stop assessment along Federal Boulevard. The corridor was split up into twelve sections and assigned to teams of students. Each team was tasked with collecting information about every single stop on their part of the corridor, as well as talking to riders about their experience traveling by bus. At the end of the semester, they presented their findings to us, DOTI planners and engineers, local community partners, and neighborhood residents.
The Denver Moves: Transit plan (and of course most people in Denver) have pointed out that many bus stops in the city lack even the most basic amenities such as seating, protection from the elements, and lighting. Many of the teams recommended adding these amenities as short-term improvements that would enhance safety, comfort, and convenience for riders along RTD's second-busiest corridor.
On a long-term scale, the students recommended much more substantial improvements to Federal's roadway design and streetscape if Denver is to achieve its goal of increased public transportation ridership. Their suggestions ranged from infrastructure redesigns with bus-only lanes and wider, detached sidewalks to rider services such as real-time arrival info, free Wi-Fi, and bike parking at stops, to streetscape enhancements like public art and landscaping that create a more pleasant environment.
In addition to their existing conditions analysis, the students also interviewed people waiting at the bus stops along Federal. They found that a majority of the people they spoke to had little or no access to a vehicle and therefore took the bus out of necessity. Many of the respondents were eager to share their stories and appreciated being asked at all about their public transit experiences. When it comes building a transit system that works for everyone, it is crucial to listen to regular riders who know better than anyone how the current system works - and how it doesn't work.
This project supplements the City's ongoing effort to collect more detailed and accurate information about every bus stop in Denver. In order to create high-quality and reliable public transit, we must first understand the current conditions along Denver's busiest transit routes. If you’d like to learn more about the students’ data collection and recommendations, you can download and browse through the final reports online.