RTD is providing big, bold, modern transit

Larry Hoy, RTD Director District J
Posted

The Regional Transportation District is reaching milestones as it increases commuting options for residents around the Denver metropolitan region.

In my district, for instance, RTD broke ground March 20 on the North Metro Rail Line, and I was humbled to see more than 300 people in attendance at this historic event.

Another recent achievement for RTD occurred May 9 when our transit agency celebrated the grand opening of its modern, 22-bay bus concourse at Denver Union Station. Service in and out of the brand-new, state-of-the-art underground bus facility began May 11, the same day RTD closed Market Street Station after 30 years of service.

A multimodal hub for the entire metro region, Union Station will provide access to FasTracks transit corridors and bring commuter rail, light rail, regional buses, taxis, shuttles and new economic development to the historic Lower Downtown Denver neighborhood.

“Big. Bold. Modern. Transit.” It was RTD’s tagline for the Union Station bus concourse opening and it’s the agency’s intrinsic motto for all it is accomplishing across the RTD system.

– Our transportation system is expanding. Between 1994 and 2006, RTD opened 35 miles of light rail. Through the FasTracks program, RTD will add 122 miles of new light rail and commuter rail. Twelve of those miles opened in 2013 when RTD opened the W Line.

In less than two years, RTD will celebrate the birth of a new commuting era when it opens more than 50 miles of new rail among the East, Gold, I-225 and Northwest rail lines to Westminster. Also in 2016, RTD will open 18 miles of bus rapid transit service between downtown Denver and Boulder along U.S. 36. Moreover, by 2018 the first phase (12.5 miles) of the North Metro Rail Line will be compete, increasing RTD’s overall rail service to 110 miles.

– Our transit agency is making bold, collaborative decisions to find ways to complete the FasTracks program sooner rather than later. RTD continues to be an industry leader. Each year, visitors from around the world inquire about our projects. They want to know about our public-private partnerships, or P3s, and the lessons we’ve learned from these experiences. In fact, RTD is setting the standard in our nation’s transportation sector when it comes to P3s.

– As part of the FasTracks transit expansion program, RTD opened its new Union Station bus concourse, but it is also building other facilities.

Currently under construction is a new commuter rail maintenance facility that will serve the East, Gold, Northwest and North Metro rail lines. The agency has also expanded a light rail maintenance facility that serves the Central, Southeast, Southwest and West light rail lines.

As our agency builds state-of-the-art facilities, it also provides modern transit options to Colorado commuters. RTD remains on the leading edge of technology, specifically with alternative fuels and pollution reduction technology.

RTD rail lines operate on electricity and the transit agency’s bus fleet operates on ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel that contains 95 percent less sulfur. Our 16th Street Free MallRide shuttles are electric hybrids.

Additionally, RTD District Shops houses one of the nation’s premier engine and fuel research labs, the Renewable Fuels and Lubricants (ReFUEL) Research laboratory.

RTD is truly paving the way for today’s commuters, tomorrow’s prospects and providing an invaluable benefit for Colorado’s future.