First & Last Mile: Connecting People to Transit

by Jill Locantore on September 3, 2015

New report recommends strategies for addressing funding needs

Report Cover

Facilities like sidewalks and bike lanes that connect people to transit are very important for the success of our region’s  transportation system, but are currently inadequate and underfunded.  These are some of the key findings of a new report released today, developed by WalkDenver and BBC Research & Consulting on behalf of Mile High Connects.  The Natural Resources Defense Council and FRESC: Good Jobs, Strong Communities also contributed to the report.

The Denver region is spending billions of dollars to expand public transit throughout the metro area, yet for the most part, the FasTracks program does not provide direct funding for “first and last mile connections” (FLMC) that help people get to and from the new transit stations.  Through surveys and focus groups with public and private sector representatives, WalkDenver and our partners explored the consequences of this lack of funding, as well as potential solutions.

Pedestrian infrastructure, including sidewalks, safe street crossings, and wayfinding signs, rose to the top as the most important and most underfunded FLMC improvements needed in the Denver region. Other facilities and services identified as important include lighting and other measures to address safety concerns related to crime; dedicated bike lanes; traffic calming; bus stop amenities (e.g., buses, shelters, trash cans etc.); and streetscaping.

Research participants agreed that, without these types of facilities, transit ridership is lower than is could be, economic development is stunted, and low-income and communities of color are disadvantaged. Addressing these challenges will require the coordinated efforts of the Regional Transportation District (RTD), the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), and the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), with a particularly important role for local governments.

The report recommends that all levels of government should:

  • Include a set aside for or strong emphasis on FLMC in annual capital improvement programs, new bond programs, and in any new transportation funding sources.
  • Establish performance measures including mode share goals for transit, walking, and biking, and strive to allocate transportation funding across modes in proportion to these goals.
  • Adopt strong plans and policies that prioritize transit, walking, and biking, such as complete street policies, bicycle and pedestrian plans, active transportation plans, or FLMC strategic plans.
  • Track spending on FLMC, maintain a comprehensive inventory of pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and monitor usage of these facilities.

Click on the links below to download the full report and related documents:

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