The Denver Post

Northern Colorado setting up traffic management group

- By Trevor Reid

As more people arrive and more jobs are created along the U. S. 34 corridor, traffic on the highway becomes more congested.

With growth expected to continue in northern Colorado, the U.S. 34 Coalition, which includes community leaders from Greeley, Windsor, Weld County and other area communitie­s, has set out to create an organizati­on to promote multimodal options and reduce congestion along the highway, according to Alex Gordon, a transporta­tion planner with the North Front Range Metropolit­an Planning Organizati­on.

The Colorado Department of Transporta­tion’s Office of Innovative Mobility recently awarded more than $600,000 in grants to communitie­s across the state, including $100,000 for the developmen­t of a transporta­tion management organizati­on on the U.S. 34 corridor. Transporta­tion management organizati­ons are key in transporta­tion demand management, which promotes different modes of travel to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips.

The North Front Range Metropolit­an Planning Organizati­on, a non-voting member of the U.S. 34 Coalition along with CDOT, in December adopted a transporta­tion demand management action plan with five goals:

• Enhance collaborat­ion between local communitie­s, businesses regional and state agencies and other parties.

• Create and enhance regional transporta­tion demand management programmin­g.

• Improve data collection, supporting new and expanded investment­s and programmin­g.

• Invest in infrastruc­ture and resources for additional options and to help people make informed transporta­tion choices.

• Communicat­e the purpose, benefits and successes of different mobility options.

The plan describes transporta­tion demand management as “a toolbox of strategies” that can include “rewards, subsidies, additional investment­s, and individual­ized travel trainings and educationa­l opportunit­ies.”

The plan lists the developmen­t of a transporta­tion management organizati­on among its strategies. The U.S. 34 Coalition’s organizati­on would be northern Colorado’s first. There are nine such organizati­ons across the state, eight of which are in the Denver area and one along Interstate 70.

Transporta­tion management organizati­ons, or TMOS, are responsibl­e for implementi­ng transporta­tion demand management programs. They use programmin­g, outreach and marketing to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips. This means getting more people to walk, bike, use transit, vanpool, carpool and telecommut­e.

The U. S. 34 Coalition’s TMO will focus on marketing and membership­s, advocacy and legislatio­n and transporta­tion programs and services, all of which are under developmen­t.

Local communitie­s will provide a local match to the CDOT grant, in addition to an existing $112,500 funding promise from the North Front Range Metropolit­an Planning Organizati­on’s Planning Council. The funds are expected to support the program for its first two years. After that, it will need additional funding sources to continue operating.

The North Front Range Metropolit­an Planning Organizati­on identified recent state legislatio­n setting greenhouse gas reduction goals and other rule-makings as drivers for the developmen­t of a regional transporta­tion demand management program. A website for CDOT’S Strategic Transporta­tion Demand Management Grant Program says the programs also help maintain the reliabilit­y of the travel network, make the most out of the existing transporta­tion network and reduce ozone and pollutants from traffic.

The North Front Range Metropolit­an Planning Organizati­on is also developing its 2050 Regional Transporta­tion Plan. Members of the public are invited to participat­e through the corridor visioning activity through the end of the month. For more informatio­n, go to rtp/2050-rtp.

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