CDOT launches a new Bus Rapid Transit program in the Denver region

News Release

November 8, 2023 - Denver/Central Colorado - Design work underway with construction scheduled to begin in 2024

Denver — The Colorado Department of Transportation announced today it has launched a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) program. CDOT is planning, designing and will build BRT routes on sections of Federal Boulevard, Colorado Boulevard and eventually Colfax Avenue east of I-225 in the Denver region. BRT work is also underway on CO 119/Diagonal Highway in Boulder County, and future rapid transit service is being planned on CO 7/Arapahoe Road between Boulder and Brighton.

BRT is an attractive, high frequency service designed to be more reliable, convenient, and accessible than traditional bus service. BRT achieves high quality service because it reduces delays that can typically slow regular bus service, like making long stops or getting stuck in traffic at intersections. It can also help prevent crashes involving pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles on heavily traveled urban roads. BRT increases the number of people that can travel on a road while using fewer vehicles, ultimately easing congestion and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Today’s announcement shows that we are delivering an important part of the CDOT’s Ten Year Plan, and that years of collaboration with our regional partners are setting Colorado up to leverage new sources of federal funding as we expand high quality transit options in the Denver area,” said
CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew.

CDOT has started environmental study and design work on building a BRT route that would cover 18 miles of Federal Boulevard from 120th Avenue in Westminster to Dartmouth Avenue in south Denver.
Federal Boulevard is a heavily traveled Regional Transportation District (RTD) route, providing more than one-million bus rides a year. Destinations include Regis University, Empower Field, multiple neighborhoods, retail districts, churches and community centers.

A multimodal corridor study is underway, and planning and design work will begin soon on a BRT route on 6.5 miles of Colorado Boulevard from I-70 to I-25. The corridor study will identify short-term pedestrian and bicycle improvements and build a foundation of community engagement leading into BRT design. RTD currently provides more than one million bus rides on Colorado Boulevard. Destinations include City Park, the Denver Zoo, the Museum of Nature and Science, Rose Medical Center and several communities, stores and parks.

Building on Denver’s East Colfax BRT project which is in progress, an extension is also envisioned for Colfax Avenue from I-225 to I-70. In Boulder County, construction is planned soon for BRT on nine miles of the CO 119/Diagonal Highway from 47th Street in Boulder to Hover Street in Longmont. Plans are also underway to develop BRT on 25 miles of CO 7/Arapahoe Road from Boulder to Brighton.

“A critical part of BRT planning is strong public and community engagement,” said Jessica Myklebust, regional transportation director for CDOT’s Denver metro region. “The success of a strong BRT program depends greatly on the partnership with the communities where the corridors are located. CDOT will have robust public outreach. BRT will connect our urban corridors and communities, providing vital transportation options that allow us access to jobs, shopping, health care, education, recreation and life.”

CDOT’s efforts to move forward with BRT are made possible through partnerships with RTD, the City and County of Denver, the Denver Region Council of Governments, the Federal Transportation Administration and local municipalities.