Beginning in late 2021, DOTI began a comprehensive study to better understand where buses are moving slowly or unreliably. The project team conducted a data-driven analysis, as well as engaged with the public and RTD stakeholders to get real-world feedback on where buses are delayed, what might be causing that delay, and how should improvements be prioritized.
Data Driven Analysis
DOTI undertook a data-driven analysis of existing bus operations on Denver streets, evaluating various metrics such as bus speeds, delay, stop dwell, and on-time performance. Based on stakeholder input, the project team used passenger-delay as the primary metric for evaluation. Passenger-delay is a measure of delay that considers the average load, or number of passengers on the bus, experiencing that delay.
Summarized results of the delay analysis are shown on the map below. The analysis excluded segments along corridors that have already received bus priority treatments or are currently being planned for bus priority treatments.
The project team honed in on 270 of the most delayed or least reliable bus route segments to assess for improvements using the Bus Priority Treatments Toolkit. These segments were identified based on:
5% of segments with highest delay
+ 25% of segments with highest passenger-delay
+ segments on most unreliable and delayed routes
+ segments on most delayed COVID Essential routes
- segments outside of Denver
- segments along already improved/planned corridors
= approximately 270 segments for further analysis
DOTI received nearly 200 comments on this study through a public survey, online mapping tool, three focus groups, and one public meeting. Comments included concerns about safety, accessibility, reliability, and delay. Respondents indicated they want to make sure faster buses don’t come at the expense of traffic safety. They also want to see those improvements equitably distributed across the City.
Once the 270 bus route segments were identified, the project team determined which treatments would be most appropriate on those segments and grouped them into approximately 65 projects for prioritization.
A detailed prioritization process for these 65 projects was performed with consideration given to ridership, service frequency, equity, passenger experience, alignment with Denver’s overall multimodal network and other planning documents, a Vision Zero safety approach, public feedback, and cost-benefit. Denver now has at their fingertips a list of 65 prioritized bus priority projects to utilize when programming projects each year.
Project Prioritization Map
Denver will continue to budget for approximately five miles of Bus Priority projects to move forward into feasibility analysis, design, and construction each year. To support DOTI’s efforts to determine which projects to prioritize each year, an Implementation Planning Tool was developed to track considerations including project complexity, potential impacts to traffic or parking, possible funding sources, and coordination opportunities with other projects.