Denver South tackles the “last-mile” problem with help from tech.
The RTD Light Rail is many things: quick, affordable, and instead of wearing out your pedal foot, you can sip coffee and actually read that novel. Sounds fantastic, right? For many potential riders, there’s a hitch: the pesky “last mile.”
The last mile is the gulf of space between your train and where you need to be, and it’s keeping people off the rail and on the roads.
But wait, you say. Won’t a bike solve the last-mile problem?
Sure, bikes are great! Not only does Denver South help fund and plan better bike connections, but, on September 21, it contributed to the Meridian Metro District to launch M-Bike, Colorado’s first business park bike-sharing program. In general, multimodal commuting is more common than ever. But what if it’s raining? Or snowing? Or you’re in a pencil skirt, or have an impairment or just really not into biking?
There’s too many variables, so commuting in the Denver metro means a continued reliance on cars, if you have one. So there’s more traffic, more pollution, more stress.
Centennial and Lone Tree launch innovative, tech-based pilot programs to solve the last mile.
“Go Centennial” was a public-private pilot program, which gave the city some seriously valuable data.
The city teamed up with the ride share company Lyft to provide free – that’s right, free – rides to and from the Dry Creek Light Rail station. They made it easy: Get on the Go Centennial app. Book a Lyft. Hope on the rail. Enjoy the ride.
- 6-month program (Aug 2016 to Feb 2017)
- 127 riders served
- 68% of riders used the program more than once
- 78% cost decrease from RTD’s current Call-N-Ride program
- 5.25-minute average wait time – down from 2 hours
The data proves the program’s possibilities, especially in areas with higher demand.
Lone Tree is testing their own last-mile initiative with help from Uber. Starting in August and extending through December, commuters in Lone Tree can request Link on Demand – for free – through their Uber app. A 12-passenger shuttle bus will show up to ferry them anywhere within city limits.
How to use Lone Tree’s Link on Demand for your commute:
- Within Lone Tree city limits, hop on Uber M-F from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Scroll right through Uber’s ride options and select Link on Demand.
- Share a ride with a fellow commuter. (It works like UberPool: fancy algorithms look at rider requests, see who’s going in the same direction and funnel this info to drivers.)
By combining public-private partnerships, with data, and a population willing to work toward better ways to commute, tremendous possibilities exist. Making a smarter commute and higher quality of life much closer than the last mile.