Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Natual Science and Mathematics

First Advisor

Andrew R. Goetz, Ph.D.


Denver Metro Region, Land use, Light rail transit, Traffic congestion


Among the reasons behind construction of the light rail system in the 1990s and 2000s and currently the FasTracks lines, in Denver metro region, has been reduction of traffic congestion and consolidation of land use. This research analyzes the success of the rail transit system in achieving the above-mentioned goals.

A temporal and spatial analysis of Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) data from 1992 to 2008 on the highways in Denver has been conducted to determine if traffic congestion has reduced after the initial light rail service began in 1994. Temporal analysis provides an insight into the changes in the level of highway traffic before and after the opening of three segments (Central, Southwest, and Southeast Corridors) of the light rail system. This part of the analysis also compares the traffic levels of highways affected by light rail with those not affected by light rail. Spatial analysis examines whether the changes have taken place uniformly throughout all the highways, or whether they have been concentrated on particular highways. Results indicate that light rail has reduced level of traffic along some of the adjacent highways for a short period of time. Overall, the three light rail corridors in operation have succeeded in lowering the rate of increase in the level of traffic on highways near the rail transit as compared to highways not near the rail transit.

Change in the amount of different types of land use namely commercial, mixed, industrial, multi-family residential, and single-family residential has been examined from 1990 to 2010 for Denver and surrounding counties to determine whether greater developments have taken place within the rail transit corridors than outside. The change has been analyzed in terms of total square footage of the building areas as well as land use density. Besides descriptive statistics, inferential statistics have been used for Denver County only, to determine if the changes are significantly different within and outside the rail transit corridors. The growth of commercial land use has been higher within the rail transit corridors in all the counties. The growth has been statistically significant for Denver County. Single-family residential land use has noticeable increased outside the rail transit corridors in all the counties. However, the growth has not been statistically significant throughout the study time period in Denver County. The other types of land use have not shown any consistent pattern in their growth. Overall, the present and proposed rail transit lines in Denver metro region have been very successful in consolidating commercial land use around them.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Sutapa Bhattacharjee


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

277 p.


Transportation planning, Urban planning, Geography