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GIS Analysis of Population and Employment Centers in Metro Denver Served by RTD’s FasTracks

Abstract

The Denver regional transit provider, RTD is involved in one of the most ambitious passenger rail expansion projects in the country. Known as FasTracks, the project will add 122 miles of rail and 18 miles of BRT to Metro Denver. Given the scrutiny RTD has faced over budget shortfalls and the likelihood of raising taxes to complete the project on time, this paper used a GIS analysis to determine just how well Metro Denver residents and employees would be served by FasTracks. GIS was also used to determine which corridors and stations would serve the most people, and which high density areas will not be served by FasTracks. Using population data from transportation analysis zones and half mile and one mile buffers around each station, it was found that 30% of residents and 69% of employees within Metro Denver will be within one mile of a FasTracks station, while only 9% of land area falls within a mile of a station. These results indicate that FasTracks will serve residents relatively well and employees very well. Additionally it was found that of the unfunded corridors, the Northwest Corridor to Boulder and Longmont would serve the most residents and employees. A more anecdotal approach was used to identify four high density corridors that will not be served by FasTracks. Future studies could use this same GIS analysis to determine how significantly rail transit along each of these four corridors would improve resident and employee access to high quality transit in Metro Denver.