Interregional Connectivity Study (ICS)
What is the ICS?
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Division of Transit & Rail and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently kicked off the Interregional Connectivity Study (ICS), which will examine:
- High speed technologies: This study is examining multiple types of high speed technologies currently used in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
- Alignments (paths the high speed rail could potentially follow): A variety of alignments will be studied for each section of the study area, and will consider impacts, design feasibility, public input, benefits, and technology. The use of current railroad alignments may constrain the speed and type of technology used.
- Financial/funding options: All avenues of funding will be considered including public and private financing options. A phased strategy of implementation will allow for a package of different funding opportunities.
- Travel demand and ridership: Travel demand and ridership will be calculated through developing models that simulate potential ridership in the future based on current data trends, and will take into account numerous factors including future land use, employment, population, and development.
The study has a broad reach, extending from Fort Collins to Pueblo including the Denver and Colorado Springs metropolitan areas. It will last 18 months and is anticipated to be complete by September 2013.
ICS Will Build on Past Studies
The ICS builds on past studies and will try to understand the potential relationships of a high speed rail system with the Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) transit system in the Denver metro area.
ICS is utilizing many of the past Colorado high speed rail studies as a starting point, including the:
- Colorado State Freight and Passenger Rail Plan (2012)
- Rocky Mountain Rail Authority High Speed Rail Feasibility Study (2010)
- North I-25 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
- I-70 Programmatic EIS
The ICS takes these studies to the next level by identifying potential paths for high speed rail through the metropolitan areas, to connect to Denver International Airport (DIA), identify station locations, and determine the best interface with RTD in the Denver metro area.
CDOT is also leading the Advanced Guideway System (AGS) Feasibility Study to examine high speed transit options from Denver to Eagle through the I-70 Mountain Corridor. The ICS and AGS studies are working together to ensure maximum coordination on all study elements and are dependent on one another to plan for a comprehensive future system.
When the ICS is finished, the final report will provide preliminary recommendations. However, it is important to point out that just because the study may result with recommendations, it does not mean that they will necessarily be acted on or that they will be funded.