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Denver RTD Parking System


Denver, Colorado

With approximately 30,000 parking spaces, Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) operates one of the largest parking systems in the Denver Metro area. These spaces are located in roughly 78 different lots and garages throughout the RTD system, and serve as essential points of access for RTD’s bus rapid transit (BRT), local bus, and commuter- and light-rail lines.

When legislative changes at the state level enabled RTD to consider a universal paid parking system for the first time, the transit agency sought the assistance of Walker, along with two supporting sub-consultants, to evaluate the feasibility of such a system and identify potential opportunities and pitfalls.

The Walker team utilized a combination of quantitative analysis, best practices from other transit agencies, and a deep understanding of parking operations to evaluate the costs and benefits of paid parking system implementation. With this methodology, the team was able to project RTD’s potential annual net income over a ten-year period, taking into account both fees collected from a range of possible parking fee schedules, operating expenses and capital costs, and estimated losses in ridership revenue based on riders’ sensitivity to paid parking. In addition to providing the hard numbers, Walker supplied RTD with operational recommendations and key areas of future study and analysis in order to fully equip the agency with a clear path forward should implementation of paid parking be pursued.

Denver RTD train station platform

As a result of this work, RTD staff and its Board were armed with a technical understanding of the potential opportunities and ramifications of charging for parking at RTD stations, and well-equipped to make a thoughtful decision about implementation. In addition, Walker’s report supported the following efforts and initiatives:

  • Identifying alternative revenue sources to support planned and future development in the transit system, including the opening of five new rail lines by 2018.
  • Identifying a way to recoup the nearly $1 Million per year spent on operating RTD’s parking lots and structures.
  • Providing a technical basis for RTD to utilize in managing existing parking operation agreements with local municipalities, as well as potential future agreements with other public and private entities.