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By Bud Starker

Last week at the monthly work session of the Denver Regional Council of Government (DRCOG) the Mobility Choice Blueprint was presented. This report addresses new transportation technologies, demographic changes and shifting social values that will change the vision of the Denver region’s mobility future.

To define that future, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), DRCOG, the Regional Transportation Department (RTD), in partnership with the Denver Metro Chamber, listened to transportation and thought leaders from public, private and nonprofit sectors to understand how to harness the benefits of new technologies in order to enhance individual mobility.

The Blueprint contains a list of recommendations and actions of strategic programs, policies and pilot projects that allow cities, counties and transportation agencies to work in collaboration with the private sector to address population growth and mobility issues.

The Denver metropolitan area population is projected to grow to 3.9 million in 2030, a growth of 800,000 from 2015, and person-hours of delay are expected to more than double between 2017 and 2040. If current trends continue, increased traffic congestion and uncoordinated adaption of new technologies could cost the region $50 million per year, gasoline and diesel vehicles will continue to elevate the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the region could experience a 50 percent increase in vehicle crashes.

The Mobility Choice Initiative is a deliberate attempt to prevent these negative outcomes and, instead, recommend strategies for a more collaborative, regional and integrated approach to the region’s mobility needs.

The Blueprint categorizes the new mobility technologies into five emerging mobility systems: shared mobility, vehicle technology, transportation systems optimization, travel information and payment, and freight and delivery. It represents an approach to mobility planning that is collaborative throughout the region and seeks an integrated human experience with the inevitable introduction of new mobility technology.

Using example case scenarios of different types of commuters, the Blueprint addresses seven objectives and recommends 34 tactical actions to direct the future of mobility from “mobility gridlock” – characterized by reduced access to mobility, travel delays, increased pollution, increased crash rates and lost economic benefits – to “mobility bold,” with fewer barriers to mobility, more free time, safer roads, cleaner air and increased economic benefits.

Objectives outlined in the report range from regional collaboration and system optimization to data security and sharing, mobility electrification and driverless vehicle preparation.

The tactical actions provide direction for the agencies involved in the development of the Blueprint, as well as cities and counties.

As I look at the transportation changes that have been evolving over the recent decades and the challenges we will inevitably experience in the future, I’m excited that this Blueprint has been developed to help plan our path.

To learn more and download the plan www.mobilitychoiceblueprintstudy.com.

Contact Wheat Ridge mayor Bud Starker at bstarker@ci.wheatridge.co.us or 303-235-2800.