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I-25 & I-225 Reconstruction - Denver, CO

FAST FACTS ABOUT: 1-25 & I-225 Reconstruction
Types of TDM:
Mode Choice, Route Choice
Keywords: design-build, corridor reconstruction, construction mitigation, rideshare, transit subsidies
Area Demographics: Metropolitan Denver, T-REX includes both light rail construction and highway capacity and safety improvements to I-25 and I-225.
Program: TransOptions offers transit and vanpool subsidies, community outreach and education on construction and transportation options.
Results: Transit and vanpool subsidies account for a daily VMT reduction of 74,800. Refer to the case study for additional results.
Cost of Program: $3 million allocated to TransOptions.
Contact: Allison Hodge, Director of TransOptions,


Area Characteristics
The I-25 corridor in metropolitan Denver is one of the most overburdened sections of roadway in Colorado. Over the past twenty years the region has experienced intense residential and employment growth leading to increased travel demand and congestion along the I-25 corridor.
In an effort to confront congestion along I-25, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Regional Transportation District (RTD) initiated a multi-modal design-build project known as the Transportation Expansion Project, or T-REX. The design-build approach compliments T-REX project goals, which are:

• Minimize inconvenience to the public,
• To stay within the $1.67 billion project budget,
• To provide a quality product, and
• Complete the project on time (2008).

The project is ahead of schedule and is estimated for completion in 2006.

The T-REX project includes both light rail construction and highway capacity and safety improvements. T-REX, a design-build project, will add many new elements to the transportation system including 19 miles of double track light rail, 13 light rail stations (all but one with park & Ride lots), 34 additional fleet vehicles, and a new maintenance facility. The project will also provide additional lanes on both I-25 and I-225 within project limits as well as other safety improvements associated with save ingress and egress.

Program Description
T-REX owners recognized the potential impact that the large-scale project could have on the motoring public and took steps to minimize inconvenience associated with the reconstruction project. The TransOptions program was formulated in consultation with key community stakeholders as a construction mitigation program designed to assist employers and commuters in dealing with the challenges of traveling to, from and through the corridor during construction. CDOT and RTD dedicated $3 million to the TransOptions program, which included transit and vanpool subsidies, community outreach and education as well as maintaining a project website. The project is now in it’s fourth construction season (2004). TransOptions has been recognized as a key element of construction mitigation by providing commuters and employers with incentives to use alternative modes to, from and through the corridor. TransOptions builds on the success of the TMAs and TMOs and established demand-side programs implemented by local jurisdictions including the Denver Regional Council of Government’s (DRCOG) RideArrangers.

Facilitative leadership has helped avoid roles and responsibilities pitfalls. For continued success, it will be important to communicate the role of agency partners to ensure focused but collaborative efforts through established and new partnerships.

Due to the fluid nature of a design-build project and the foresight of those involved, a number of recent project features have been deployed to manage travel demand during construction. In November 2002, T-REX opened a temporary bus/HOV lane on I-25 to promote the benefit of higher occupancy modes. In May of 2003, T-REX launched a real-time instant email alert system utilizing project ITS components as they became operational. In May of 2003, TransOptions was honored with a TDM Award presented by the Southeast Business Partnership for it’s continued commitment to and success with construction related transportation management to date.

Measures of Effectiveness
Recently, the T-REX TransOptions program has undergone an evaluation of it’s first two years (2001 and 2002) utilizing a variety of measures including documentation review, stakeholder interviews, e-mail surveys, and quantitative analyses of program data. The evaluation identifies strengths and weaknesses of the TransOptions program, as well as opportunities and threats for the future of the program.

By reducing daily vehicle miles traveled (VMT) along the T-REX corridor, the TransOptions program is contributing to T-REX’s goal of minimizing inconvenience along the corridor. As part of recent analysis conducted by UrbanTrans Consultants, Inc., TransOptions contributed to VMT reduction was measured. Collectively, transit and vanpool subsidies provided by TransOptions have reduced daily VMT by 74,800. The following successes have been cited as contributors of VMT reduction based on analysis completed to date:

• 14 employers purchased Eco Pass which resulted in over 1,200 employee Eco Pass holders,
• 66 commuters purchased ValuPass,
• 318 commuters purchased subsidized transit pass products at 4 Sales Pass Outlets established with T-REX support,
• 80 commuters utilized Commuter Checks to purchase transit products,
• 179 Vanpool riders received T-REX TransOptions subsidies, and
• 9 Vanpools were formed.

A number of TransOptions strengths were documented as part of the evaluation and are seemingly applicable to all highway reconstruction projects. Collaborative, responsive leadership of the TransOptions staff is imperative for the continued interest of project team members including the TMA/TMOs, DRCOG, RTD and the TransOptions TDM Committee. Facilitative leadership has helped avoid roles and responsibilities pitfalls. For continued success, it will be important to communicate the role of agency partners to ensure focused but collaborative efforts through established and new partnerships. Program credibility continues to be strengthened by the presence of a public relations firm on the TransOptions team. Marketing and public relations outreach of the TransOptions program resulted in increased employer and employee awareness of transit, vanpool and carpool. Success is evident measured by the implementation of over 300 events, attended by more than 20,000 persons by the end of 2002. In addition, just as important as providing employers and commuters with subsidized transit and vanpool products, it was necessary to enable the TMA/TMOs and DRCOG the tools to effectively provide those products. TransOptions is flexible in nature, adjusting to user needs.


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