Survey: Fewer commuters driving solo on U.S. 36

LOUISVILLE — If responses from participants in a two-year marketing campaign are any indication, travel along the U.S. Highway 36 corridor is showing improvement.

According to survey results released Tuesday by Louisville-based 36 Commuting Solutions, more commuters along the busy corridor between Boulder and Denver are opting out of driving solo, choosing instead either to carpool or use the Regional Transportation District’s new Flatiron Flyer bus rapid transit system.

Approximately 600 survey respondents participated in the group’s U.S. 36 Congestion Mitigation Program, which was designed to raise public awareness about commuting options, said Audrey DeBarros, executive director of 36 Commuting Solutions.

“To date, the program has contributed to a 40 percent reduction in drive-alone trips by those who participated in the program, and vehicle miles traveled have been reduced by 12,500,” she said. “This is more than three times the VMT reduction that had been anticipated over the life of the program. “To put it in perspective, there are about 500 fewer vehicles traveling the corridor each day.”

As part of the incentives offered, those who want to try RTD are eligible to receive a 10-ride Regional ticket book, valued at $40. New vanpool and carpool applicants are eligible to receive a $75 incentive. Funding for these incentives is available through the end of 2016. Incentive program details and the application are available at 36commutingsolutions.org.

Additionally, as part of a U.S. 36 Master EcoPass pilot program, 919 EcoPasses were distributed in 2015, and 733 have been distributed so far in 2016. An analysis of the 2015 EcoPass program indicated that the annual number of vehicle trips reduced by this group is 63,000 and the annual VMT reduction is estimated at 1.71 million, DeBarros said. An analysis of first-year EcoPass participants indicated that drive-alone trips were reduced by 19 percent, and transit use increased by 111 percent.

The incentives are being offered through a partnership of 36 Commuting Solutions with the Colorado Department of Transportation, the High Performance Transportation Enterprise and RTD.

The $497 million project includes new express lanes, a bikeway and the bus rapid transit service. The project began in 2012 and is to be completed this spring.

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