Federal Boulevard Transit Reliability Project

Buses are important for connecting neighborhoods and destinations across Denver. However, heavy traffic congestion can affect bus schedules and timing. This is especially true on Federal Boulevard, where buses are not on schedule more often than anywhere else in the city.

The Federal Boulevard Transit Reliability Project is making roadway and signal improvements to keep buses moving so that community members can count on buses arriving on time. This project is part of the city's vision to implement more reliable, frequent, connected, and higher quality transit on major corridors. DOTI is partnering with RTD and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) on this project.

Why Federal?

  • Second highest transit ridership of any route in Denver!
  • Highest transit delay in Denver
  • Identified as a Transit Priority Corridor by Denver Moves: Transit
  • Serves communities that often lack access to other modes of transportation
  • Connects essential workers and lower income earners to jobs on the corridor

This project is the first step toward future Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on Federal Boulevard. BRT is a high-quality bus service comparable to rail that is more reliable, convenient, and faster than traditional bus service. Starting this fall, DOTI will collaborate with the community and partnering agencies to bring BRT to the corridor. Check back here for more information on the BRT project.

The project began in mid-2021. The project team has prioritized potential improvements to determine which ones will be constructed through this project. The final design will be complete by December 2023 with construction scheduled to begin in 2024.

Federal Boulevard Transit Reliability Project timeline graphic

Project Goals

The Denver Moves: Federal Transit Study, which began in 2019, analyzed potential options for the future of transit on Federal Boulevard, including the long-term vision of implementing high-quality transit along the corridor.

As one step forward realizing this vision, the city launched the Federal Boulevard Transit Reliability project to plan, design, and build near-term infrastructure improvements to move buses faster and help them stay more reliably on schedule. The project's goals are:

  • Improve Bus Travel Times
    Travel time is the total time it takes for a bus to get from one stop to another, measured in minutes. This helps develop bus routes and schedules.
  • Reduce Delay
    Delay happens when a bus falls behind schedule, which means riders cannot count on it arriving when they expect it to.
  • Improve Reliability
    Reliability means bus riders can count on their bus arriving on time and staying on schedule.
  • Enhance Bus Stops
    Bus stop enhancements improve the passenger experience. Amenities like seating and transit shelters are examples of bus stop enhancements.

Proposed Improvements

The project team prioritized improvements and determined which ones will be added to the corridor in 2024. The project recommendations were developed through technical evaluations and community input collected in early 2022. The identified projects range from the installation of transit signal priority equipment to sidewalk and curb ramp improvements.

19 bus stops have been identified for consolidation or relocation for safer and smoother bus operations. Relocating bus stops also allows DOTI to construct larger concrete boarding areas to make room for amenities and all-door boarding/alighting. Stops identified for removal typically have low ridership numbers or are near other stops. All stops identified for relocation or removal will have additional signage in September 2023 that will note proposed changes and identify the closest stop(s).

Proposed Bus Stop Removals:

Stop Nearest Alternate Stop 
Southbound 39th 41st Avenue or 38th Avenue
Northbound 19th 20th Avenue or 17th Avenue
Southbound Ellsworth 1st Avenue or Bayaud Avenue
Southbound Alameda Bayaud Avenue or south of Alameda Avenue
Northbound Amherst Between Yale Avenue and College Avenue or at Bates Avenue
Southbound Amherst  Yale Avenue or Bates Avenue 

Proposed Bus Stop Relocations:

Stop New Location 
Northbound 52nd North side of 52nd Avenue
Southbound 47th Closer to 47th Avenue
Southbound Holden South side of Holden Place
Northbound 5th South side of 5th Avenue
Southbound 5th South side of 5th Avenue
Northbound 4th  North side of 2nd Avenue 
Southbound 3rd  North side of 2nd Avenue 
Northbound 1st  North side of 1st Avenue 
Southbound Virginia  Closer to Virginia Avenue 
Northbound Colorado  North side of Colorado Avenue 
Northbound Warren  Closer to Warren Avenue 
Northbound Iliff  South side of Iliff Avenue
Northbound Harvard South side of Harvard Avenue

Map of proposed improvements on Federal Boulevard from W Dartmouth Ave to W 52nd Ave for Federal Boulevard Transit Reliability Project

The most significant source of bus delay on Federal Boulevard is vehicle congestion, particularly at intersections. Buses are often stuck in traffic while full of passengers and late to pick up new riders. This leads to longer travel times and causes individuals to be delayed, miss transfers to other lines, and ultimately arrive late to their destinations.

Fortunately, there are many tools to improve travel time and reliability for buses. These tools reduce bus delays to increase the likelihood of buses arriving on time and staying on schedule. These will be implemented along the corridor in 2024.

  • Traffic Signal Priority (TSP) adjusts traffic signal phasing to maximize the green light time given to buses, while minimizing impacts to general traffic. DOTI is currently piloting TSP at 46 signals along the corridor.

Transit Signal Priority Infographic(JPG, 110KB)

  • Bus Bypass Lanes are short segments of bus lanes that provide space for buses to get ahead of traffic near intersections. They are often coupled with a bus priority signal called a Queue Jump to give buses an advanced green signal to move through an intersection before general traffic. Right turns to access driveways and cross streets will be permitted in most instances along Federal Boulevard. The project will add a half-mile of Bus Bypass Lanes.

Bus Bypass Lane Infographic(PDF, 2MB)

  • Bus Stop Balancing involves removing and/or relocating bus stops for safer and smoother bus operations. Stops identified for removal have typically low ridership numbers or are near other stops. 19 bus stops have been identified for relocation or removal. For locations, see map or table above.

Bus Stop Balancing Infographic(JPG, 122KB)

  • Queue Jumps give buses an advanced green signal to move through an intersection before general traffic. The project will add Queue Jumps at seven intersections.

Queue Jumps Infographic(JPG, 116KB)

  • Sidewalk Improvements will fix accessibility issues with sidewalk segments near bus stops. Ensuring sidewalk accessibility at bus stops helps passengers get on and off the bus more efficiently. Six sidewalk locations have been identified to be reconstructed.
  • Other Improvements: The city is rebuilding some bus stops along Federal to optimize stop locations for efficient travel and to support future amenities (such as shelters, benches, and trash cans), which will be installed later by partners such as RTD, DOTI's Transit Amenities Program (TAP), special districts, or private property owners. The city must work with these partners to establish maintenance agreements that ensure bus stops are clean and in good repair. All existing TAP shelters and benches will either remain in place or be relocated.

Community Engagement

Public Outreach #1 (Nov 2021 - Jan 2022)

On-Demand Virtual Meeting (Nov 2021 - Jan 2022)
This self-guided online meeting provided a project overview and asked the public to share feedback on delay, reliability, and access issues and preferred bus stop enhancements.

On-Demand Meeting Content(PDF, 8MB)
Meeting Summary(PDF, 900KB)

Alameda Avenue and Federal Boulevard Pop-Up Event (Dec 2021)
Community partner Denver Streets Partnership met with bus riders on the corridor to get their insight on reliability challenges and to learn their preferred bus stop enhancements.

City employee doing public outreach with residents for the Federal Boulevard Transit Reliability Project

Public Outreach #2 (August - September 2023)

As the project nears the completion of final design, informational signs will be installed at every bus stop in the project area with proposed improvements.

Meeting Summary(PDF, 237KB)

Past Projects

The Denver Moves: Federal Transit Study involved an Alternatives Analysis that evaluated different transit options including Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Light Rail as solutions for Federal Boulevard. The study determined that side-running BRT is the preferred solution for the southern section of the corridor (from Dartmouth Avenue to 20th Avenue), and Bus Priority with enhanced stations is the preferred solution for the northern section of the corridor (from 20th Avenue to Westminster). This preferred configuration is referred to as the Locally Preferred Alternative or LPA.

The LPA for Federal recommended to include:

  • Increasing frequency of current bus service, as well as expanding service hours during nights and weekends
  • Enhancing bus facilities with higher quality amenities such as shelters, benches, elevated boarding platforms, and real-time travel information
  • Improving bus travel times and reliability with dedicated bus lanes, Transit Signal Priority (TSP), and other Bus Priority treatments

Project Materials: