Transportation Use Measurements
The City of Boulder's transportation staff regularly collects data to monitor the effectiveness of its efforts to provide the community with a variety of safe and efficient transportation options. Here are some of the major recent reports.
The Transportation Report on Progress is updated every 2 years (except during TMP update years), and serves as a check-in on the city's progress toward its stated goals. The Report on Progress is a report card that shows how well the city is achieving the plan's goals and objectives, and where the city is falling short. In addition to the Report on Progress, the City of Boulder also uses several other performance check-ins to measure progress in other areas.
A drive time study measuring the time it takes to get across the City of Boulder during peak traffic hours has been performed every year since 1986. The purpose of these annual studies is to determine how congestion on the major arteries in Boulder is changing over time. For the tests, drivers equipped with hand-held GPS devices and computers with special software travel through the corridors during peak hours, which are 7:30 a.m., noon and 5 p.m.
The 2016 data shows increased mean trip times and mean stopped times for all corridors studied with the highest values since 2002. In comparison to previous years, the variability in peak hour travel times have increased on all corridors with the 2016 studies.
Historically, in even-numbered years the north/south routes (Broadway, 28th Street and recently Foothills Parkway) have been studied, and in odd-numbered years the east/west routes (Arapahoe Avenue, Valmont Road and Pearl Street). The frequency of travel time and delay studies in the city has been reduced in the past few years because of budgetary constraints, so the last east-west evaluation was performed in 2014. The report contains a Methodology section showing exact routes and the details of how the study is conducted.
The Modal Shift Report documents the results of the bi or tri-annual travel diary survey administered by the Audit and Evaluation Division of the city. This survey has been conducted since 1990 and asks representatives from more than a thousand households in the Boulder Valley to track all their trips greater than two blocks in length for a 24-hour period.
This report tracks changes in the number of trips, trip type and characteristics, and mode of travel used over the years for Boulder Valley residents. Trip characteristics are also compared to regional and national data and are reported by standard demographic characteristics such as age, sex, student, owner/renter, type of housing unit, income, and car, bike and Eco Pass availability.
The Boulder Valley Employee Survey (BVES) is a biennial survey of employees who work within the Boulder Valley. The BVES was designed to tap an important dimension of travel behavior within Boulder, that of employees who work in Boulder, but may not necessarily live here. The first survey of Boulder Valley employees’ transportation habits was conducted in the summer of 1991.
This report tracks changes in the number of trips, trip type and characteristics, and mode of travel used over the years for Boulder Valley employees. Trip characteristics are also compared to regional and national data and are reported by standard demographic characteristics such as age, sex, owner/renter, income, distance from work, city of residence, job requirements, and car, bike and Eco Pass availability.
Since 2005, a similar survey to the BVES has also been conducted for downtown Boulder employees. The downtown survey has been conducted at the same time as the BVES to achieve cost savings. The University of Colorado joined the effort and the study was expanded to include a survey of students, faculty and staff on the Boulder campus in 2005 and 2011.
The same set of questions, with slight variances, was used for all of the study groups to allow for comparisons and to realize cost savings. Each survey was paid for and managed by the individual agency. The resulting reports for downtown Boulder employees, CU students and CU faculty and staff are listed below.
The American Community Survey (ACS) is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau to provide travel data between the decennial Census surveys. The ACS reports the modes of travel for the journey to work trip for communities across the country and so allows for a comparison of travel between Boulder, similar communities, and with the regional and national averages.
These comparisons and the changes from the 1990 and 2000 Census are assembled in this report. The 2008 ACS data shows that the City of Boulder continues to make consistent progress toward reaching the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) and Climate Action Plan (CAP) goals of reducing single-occupant vehicle (SOV) travel, as measured by work-trip mode share.
The 2009 Downtown Boulder Bicycle Parking Count was completed in August 2009 by city staff and volunteers. It suggests that the number of people bicycling downtown continues to grow. The annual count was conducted to estimate the demand for bicycle parking and the impact of converting old parking meters to bicycle parking racks as well as determine the need for and location of additional bicycle parking in the downtown area.
This was the third annual count conducted by the city. Since the count was initiated, the downtown area has experienced a significant growth in the number of bicycles parked downtown, and in many areas, the demand for bicycle parking exceeds the supply.
Between 1997 and 2001, the city conducted the Annual Transportation Survey of Residents in the fall to assess resident's opinions and experience relative to the transportation system.
The first part of the survey asks a standard set of questions relating to the transportation challenges facing the community, the resident's experience in getting around town, and their rating of various aspects of the transportation system. The second part of this survey focuses on a topical area of interest to the city, and has included neighborhood traffic mitigation, photo enforcement, traffic signals and transportation financing. This report tracks the changes in resident's opinion over time, and reports results by standard demographic characteristics such as age, sex, student, owner/renter, type of housing unit, income, and car availability.
While the Annual Transportation Survey of Residents was discontinued after 2001 due to budget reductions, a somewhat similar survey, the 2012 Boulder Transportation Issues Survey Report , was conducted in 2012 as part of the Policy Review Phase of the update process leading to the 2014 Transportation Master Plan. This phone survey collected completed interviews from 607 residents. This survey was intended to query resident opinions on:
- How they rate various elements of transportation systems and infrastructure in the City;
- Which elements they feel are in need of increased funding;
- How they feel about a possible future tax increase proposal to fund a City-wide Eco Pass program; and
- How they feel about the major objective of the City’s Transportation Master Plan, which seeks “no long-term growth in vehicle traffic” in the City, as well as on possible strategies to help achieve that objective.