REIMAGINE RTD OVERVIEW
Reimagine RTD was a multi-year effort to evaluate and forecast the changing mobility needs of our region, better position the Regional Transportation District to meet them, and collaborate with agency partners to build a cohesive vision for regional mobility. Its undertaking was a response to numerous challenges facing the agency. Stagnant ridership, increasing costs, staffing shortages, debt obligations, and other issues are making it difficult for RTD to meet the growing demands placed on the agency by local partners and the community; the COVID-19 pandemic, which began early on in the planning process, only exacerbated the challenges. There was a need for a different, more ambitious vision of what transit in our region could and should be, and that is what Reimagine RTD delivered.
RTD, in partnership with numerous other agencies and stakeholders, carried out the Reimagine process over several years between August 2019 and December 2022. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 – and its substantial impacts on transit usage and travel behavior – necessitated a pause in late 2020 to recalibrate and shift the focus. Reimagine was led by RTD staff and guided in part by two stakeholder groups: a Technical Working Group composed of transportation staff from partner agencies, and an Advisory Committee composed of partner agency leaders and RTD Board members. The RTD Board was involved throughout and acted as the final decision-making authority. Public engagement was a major component as well, with numerous in-person and virtual opportunities over the course of the project for community members to provide input. Extensive analysis, collaboration, and outreach culminated in two primary components to guide the near- and long-term decision making of the agency: a System Optimization Plan and a Mobility Plan for the Future.
System Optimization Plan
The System Optimization Plan is a detailed evaluation of travel patterns, demographics, and transit routes in the District, and includes recommended modifications to RTD’s fixed-route services to better meet the region’s near-term mobility needs within existing workforce and financial constraints. It was developed over the course of two years and followed a five-step process to inform decisions and recommendations, including a comprehensive assessment of existing services, review of current travel patterns and financial capacity, identification and discussion of goals and values, and iterative drafting of recommended network improvements. The SOP, formally adopted by the RTD Board of Directors in July 2022, will be gradually implemented through 2026 through RTD’s standard runboard process.
Mobility Plan for the Future
Reimagine RTD’s Mobility Plan for the Future is a comprehensive, forward-thinking plan that identifies strategies to address the future mobility needs of the region. Ongoing industry advancements and societal shifts are substantially altering how and when people travel, how cities function, and how mobility factors into broader visions and goals; transit agencies must evolve and adapt to remain a relevant part of the mobility equation. The MPFF, intended to help guide RTD’s long-term decision making, is the culmination of extensive technical analysis, stakeholder and public engagement, and intra-agency coordination, as well as several previous planning efforts. Key context, findings, and recommendations are broken into a series of technical memoranda focusing on individual components of the overall planning effort; the Executive Summary highlights the major findings and recommendations. The Mobility Plan for the Future was endorsed by the Board of Directors on November 15, 2022.