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In this edition:
INC Transportation Committee Meeting Notes - January 14th, 2016
by Geneva Hooten
At our meeting on January 14th from 6 to 8 p.m. at 1201 Williams Street, we had a presentation from RTD and a long session with Denver's Director of Transportation Crissy Fanganello. Thank you to Michael Henry for providing the room for our committee!
Real-Time Transit Info Comes to RTD -- Steve Szczecina, RTD Acting Digital Communications Manager
It’s been a long time in the making, but real-time transit information is here. Starting off 2016 with a major accomplishment, RTD now has real-time vehicle location and arrival prediction data for bus service available, and the first developer using it with the Transit App mobile application.
Real-time information can enhance existing transit services by reducing actual and perceived wait times, reducing the uncertainty and frustration of using transit, and increasing customer confidence and satisfaction in the system. Steve Szczecina, Acting Digital Communications Manager at RTD, has been a central part of this effort and provided an overview of the program’s history, achievements, and future enhancements.
From RTD’s 2014 Customer Survey and Focus Group, RTD learned that 95% of users look at the RTD website for route and schedule information, many riders use smart phones, 63% of riders have used RTD’s mobile application, and 61% of other users are using Google Maps’ transit information. Therefore, there was a clear audience for real-time information available in apps and on the web.
After years of work upgrading the entire system’s GPS infrastructure, and establishing the systems to handle the continuous feed and distribution of real time data, RTD’s real time data is now available. The Transit App provides vehicle locations for all regular bus routes and arrival predictions for local bus routes.
By this spring we can expect to see digital station signage at major transit hubs, real-time data on the RTD website, and integration with Google Maps. This winter and spring RTD will be focused on enhanced prediction accuracy, predictions for all bus routes (not just the local ones), and real time data for the light rail system. Future enhancements will tie the "my stop" phone system into the real-time information, making this information available to those without smartphones.
Currently more than 25 external developers have access to RTD's data, and access is provided to any developer on request, so we can expect to see the development of more creative uses for this data. Coming later this year, a simple application interface (API) will allow dynamic querying of the schedule and real-time position and prediction information, which will greatly expand the ease with which developers can make use of the information.
The "Transit App", pictured above, is the first application to show RTD real-time information, and is available to download for free on Google Play and Apple's App Store. Find out about other mobile applications using RTD's information at their mobile applications page -- as more applications use real-time information, they'll be noted here. Steve's presentation slides have been made available for our readers. Developer resources for RTD information, including GTFS, GTFS-RT interfaces, GIS data, and the future API access can be found on their Developer Resources page.
Looking Forward: 2016 Denver Transportation Plans and Projects – Crissy Fanganello, Denver Director of Transportation
Crissy Fanganello, Denver’s Director of Transportation, provided a “State of the Transportation Union” address to the INC Transportation Committee. In 2015, the City made strides for all modes of transportation and:
Developed pedestrian crossing guidelines
Opened two new pedestrian/bike bridges
Installed 15 miles of new bike lanes
Began a bike parking program (as presented by Robert Ferrin at our May 2015 meeting)
Launched Bikelife Cities Denver magazine
Made progress in the Colfax BRT (Crissy presented on this at our September 2014 meeting)
Rebuilt traffic signals at Sheridan, Colfax, and Morrison Rd.
Retimed 187 signals on major corridors and 31 signals on minor corridors
Implemented the Broadway/Baker Area Management Plan (as presented by Cindy Patton at our May 2015 meeting)
2016 is shaping up to be a big year for Denver as the City embarks on three citywide transportation planning efforts – the Pedestrians and Trails plan, a Transit Plan, and an update to Blueprint Denver, our integrated land use and transportation plan.The city’s big planning efforts will need to be visionary yet implementable, with an outline of strategies to address funding shortfalls. We look forward to the planning and developments expected in 2016 and encourage all neighborhoods to get involved in these planning efforts.
As Denver continues to grow, there will be more people taking trips, and a greater need to move people efficiently. With more than 60 percent of all commutes either starting or ending outside of Denver, the system must address local and regional needs. With decreasing federal funding and increased maintenance needs, Crissy’s team and every department across the City will need to remain dynamic and adaptable to the changing needs of Denver’s neighborhoods. For example, the department is working with RTD to make short-term improvements, understanding that there are more immediate concerns about the existing transit network that would benefit from City-RTD coordination.
Crissy's team is currently working with participants across city departments and in private industry to apply for the USDOT’s Smart City Challenge. Coming up in 2016, the City will be hiring new planners, constructing two neighborhood bikeways, adding bike route signage, and building out the on-street bicycle network. Expect to see intersection improvements in front of Denver Union Station, and more enhanced crosswalks like those along Speer Boulevard between downtown and Auraria. 2016 will also bring two new parking Area Management Plans, major construction projects along Brighton Boulevard and Broadway, and the opening of five new FasTracks lines starting with the commuter rail line between Union Station and the airport. It's going to be an exciting year!
Our session continued with an extended time for Q&A. As always, it was great for neighborhoods to meet with the Director of Transportation, and we appreciate the open communication that Public Works demonstrates. Crissy's presentation slides are available.
Vision Zero Love-In: Friday, Feb. 12th, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
In late 2015, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation joined with WalkDenver, BikeDenver, the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee (MBAC), and the Mayor's Pedestrian Advisory Committee (MPAC) to form the Vision Zero Coalition, advocating for Denver's formal adoption of the Vision Zero commitment to eliminate traffic deaths and serious accidents, and working to learn about and encourage best practices from cities already committed to this goal. This is consistent with INC's adopted Transportation Platform, which also calls for Denver to commit to Vision Zero.
As part of this effort, on Friday, February 12th, our organizations and many partner groups are hosting a Vision Zero Love-In on the Friday before Valentine’s Day, February 12, from 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Love-In will be a truly multi-modal event, with bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, and car-share users meeting at various locations and traveling together (along a different route for each mode) to the steps of the City and County building. The rally will culminate with the delivery to Mayor Hancock of hand-signed Valentine’s from Denver residents declaring their love for safe streets and support for the data-driven, complete and equitable implementation of Vision Zero projects and policies in Denver. Find out more about the event on the Facebook event page, or BikeDenver's site. Route maps will be posted soon!
Can't make it to the event? Sign the Virtual Valentine to Mayor Hancock online!
Upcoming Meeting Schedule
The INC Transportation Committee's meetings in 2016 will be at 1201 Williams St., 19th Floor:
Many thanks to Michael Henry for the wonderful meeting space!
- Thu. Mar. 10th, 6-8 p.m.
- Thu. May 12th, 6-8 p.m.
- Thu. Jul. 14th, 6-8 p.m.
- Thu. Sept. 8th, 6-8 p.m.
- Thu. Nov. 10th, 6-8 p.m.