Photo of bus with several people waiting to get on. Captioned 287 Bus Rapid Transit Feasibility Study

In order to address growing transportation and air quality needs, Boulder County has worked with local municipal and agency partners in the creation of the US-287 Bus Rapid Transit Feasibility Study. As seen at boco.org/287planning, the study area included a “core” along US-287 from CO-66 to US-36 where both roadway investments and transit operations were analyzed. The study included additional analysis and recommendations for connecting transit to Fort Collins and Denver. 

During the process, the team discovered this corridor is the spine of the area’s planned regional transit network – originating from the Regional Transportation District (RTD)’s Northwest Area Mobility Study (NAMS) – lifting ridership on other routes and reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT). The recommendations improve transit times on this corridor and increase ridership on other routes in the  area. Investments on this corridor compliment other routes and transit modes, providing more choice. 

The process included technical, elected official and public input. Major themes from input received included considering how this corridor impacts the transit network, bicycling, safety and connectivity. The study resulted in three service patterns: long, medium and short lengths with overlapping route stops to reduce wait time for patrons. It also included four capital investment scenarios.  

The four different capital investment scenarios included doing nothing, making operational improvements only and a third second scenario that included station enhancements and intersection treatments. A final scenario included operational changes, improved stations, intersection improvements and the areas creating opportunities to improve performance between intersections with Bus and Turning (BAT) lanes.  

As the amount of one-time capital investments (roadway projects) increases, the continual operating costs decrease due to improved efficiencies that allow fewer buses to provide the same high level of service. In addition to the primary study, the plan includes a US-287 Stations Area Toolkit [that is applicable elsewhere] with potential early action items.  

Implementation is seen to be a phased approach (as opposed to building it all at once), likely starting where multiple objectives can be met at once. Each project will complement the next and may include operations, intersections, connections, stations, lanes configurations and others. Because of the feedback received during this study, a second phase study will focus on safety and multimodal mobility. 

The second phase study, US-287 Vision Zero Safety and Multimodal Mobility, will take a deep look at how to implement Vision Zero along the corridor and how to provide more comfortable places for people to walk and bicycle along the corridor and to the stations. Kickoff is projected for Q2 of this year.  Recommendations from the first phase transit study will feed into the second phase. Projects that meet multiple objectives are likely to rise to the top as the first to be implemented.  

The study partners include Boulder County, City-County of Broomfield, City of Lafayette, Town of Erie, City of Longmont, Town of Berthoud, City of Loveland, City of Fort Collins, Regional Transit District (RTD), Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Federal Transit Administration, Denver Regional Council of Governments, Commuting Solutions and more. The study would not be possible without their help.  

More information can be found by visiting boco.org/287planning.