DENVER — The Regional Transportation District (RTD) has entered into a contract with WSP, a leading engineering, environment and professional services consultancy in the U.S., to evaluate the feasibility of transitioning the agency’s facilities and fixed-route fleet to low/no-emission operations.
The holistic plan, which is expected to be finalized in late 2024, will outline recommendations for facilities, fixed-route services by fleet type, a replacement schedule and overall cost projections and proposed timelines.
“RTD remains focused on transitioning to a sustainable energy future,” said Debra A. Johnson, RTD general manager and chief executive officer. “The first step in that transition is to understand and consider all aspects of RTD’s system, including its facilities, infrastructure and transit service delivery model. This plan will guide RTD’s future decisions as the agency transitions to low/no emissions.”
WSP was selected from five qualified firms that submitted proposals to RTD.
WSP’s subject-matter expertise in this area will ensure RTD’s transition plan is not only comprehensive, but also specific to the agency’s needs and operating environment, and it aligns with the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“The Colorado Front Range is one of the toughest environments in which to develop and implement zero emissions strategies, with huge temperature swings along with ice and snow,” said Matt Sibul, senior vice president and Southwest district Transportation lead. “We are thrilled that RTD has chosen WSP as its trusted partner in this journey.”
WSP is partnering with the regional firm Felsburg, Holt and Ullevig (FHU) to develop the plan. FHU and WSP teamed up to successfully deliver on the precursor to this project called “Reimagine RTD.”
WSP has begun to develop the transition plan. In conducting its work, WSP has committed to a 25 percent disadvantaged business enterprise participation goal, which further aligns with the agency’s commitment to the Strategic Priority of Community Value. The anticipated timeline for completing the full plan is the fourth quarter of 2024.
“This is a monumental and necessary step forward for RTD and the entire Denver metro region,” Johnson said. “RTD is not only planning for tomorrow, but for the tomorrows to come.”
RTD’s first steps toward a low/no-emission bus fleet transition were taken in 2000 with the deployment of hybrid-electric buses using compressed natural gas along the 16th Street Mall. In 2008, a subfleet of hybrid diesel-electric fixed-route buses was introduced to the system.
Eventually, all previously used MallRide buses were replaced in 2017 by a fleet of 36 zero-emission battery electric buses. The agency has garnered operational knowledge through the deployment and maintenance of its low- and no-emission vehicles. This knowledge gained over the past two decades will support the development and eventual implementation of a comprehensive transition plan.
The Regional Transportation District develops, operates and maintains a public transportation system that meets the transit needs of close to three million people within an eight-county service area in the Denver Metro region.
About WSP in the U.S.
WSP USA is the U.S. operating company of WSP, one of the world’s leading engineering, environment and professional services firms. Recognized on Fast Company’s Brands that Matter List for 2022 as a top Community-Minded Business, WSP in the U.S. brings together engineers, planners, technical experts, strategic advisors and construction management professionals who are dedicated to collaborate in the best interests of serving local communities. WSP designs lasting solutions in the buildings, transportation, energy, water and environment markets. With approximately 16,000 employees in 300 offices across the U.S., WSP partners with its clients to help communities prosper. wsp.com