Date of Award
Andrew R. Goetz, Ph.D.
Denver, P3s, Public-private partnerships, Public transit, Transportation, Urban
This research examines the expanding role of public-private partnerships (PPPs or P3s) in Denver metro transportation projects in three areas: (1) innovative funding and financing of transit infrastructure projects, (2) the partnerships between freight and passenger rail services, and (3) emerging collaborations of local governments, transit agencies, and transportation network companies (TNCs).
The purpose of the first study was to examine the recent use of P3s in the Denver Regional Transportation District's (RTD) FasTracks program, a 2004 voter-approved $4.7 billion transit expansion program. After a shortfall in funding, RTD partnered with several private consortia to enable the FasTracks program to move forward. Using in-depth interviews with key stakeholders and policymakers in the Denver region, I found that the Eagle P3 commuter rail project and Union Station redevelopment were the most successful of the Denver P3s, and the FasTrack P3s could serve as a model for transit infrastructure expansion in other metropolitan regions in the U.S.
The opportunity exists to minimize environmental and social impacts of expanding passenger rail transit by sharing existing corridors with freight rail operators. The purpose of the second study was to evaluate existing agreements between freight and passenger rail services and identify issues, challenges, and best practices of shared-use corridors. Through in-depth interviews with local experts in shared-use rail corridors, I found the main issues surrounding FasTrack's Northwest rail line were the absence of accurate and timely cost estimates for the line and changing requirements for the shared track. Overall, the other FasTracks shared-use corridors involved successful negotiations of right-of-way (ROW) acquisitions. Recommendations include taking advantage of corridor banking for future rail expansion when possible.
TNCs and public agencies are starting pilot P3 programs in the U.S., and these new P3s could greatly affect the cost and efficiency of transportation provision. Using interviews with public and private agencies involved in ridesourcing P3s, the third study documents the characteristics of two partnerships in the Denver metro region: Go Centennial and DU Moves. The pilot projects had lower than expected ridership, but the Go Centennial pilot was identified as a strong proof of concept for future partnerships. The most common reasons for public agencies to seek out partnerships with TNCs are to improve first-last mile connections and on-demand services, and reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips in a cost-effective manner. TNCs also benefit from partnerships through increasing their brand awareness and creating positive relationships with cities. The role of the transit agency is changing with the increase in private sector mobility options.
Brady, Sylvia Arriaga, "The Changing Role of Public-Private Partnerships in Urban Transportation: A Case Study of the Rise of P3s in Denver, CO." (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1566.
Received from ProQuest
Sylvia Arriaga Brady
Geography, Transportation, Public policy
Available for download on Sunday, August 01, 2021