Fort Collins community discusses the future of public, private transportation

Jorge Espinoza

With the possibility of private and public transportation coming together, last night’s panel discussion held by the City of Fort Collins revealed  the future of transportation is around the corner.

The panel discussed better ways to accommodate the growing population, current transportation trends, high-frequency transportation and new technologies that could potentially assist transportation in the future.

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Timothy Wilder, transit planning manager for Fort Collins, said the panel discussion was helpful in distinguishing what the community hopes to see in the future of City transportation.

“There have been a lot of questions about where we are going with the City for transit services ,and so there has been a lot of conversation about ‘do we expand our transit services, where is it appropriate, can we have other services in our portfolio of services?’’’ Wider said. “This was helpful for us to understand what those possibilities are, how we can change and adapt, and hear from the community (how they)felt about our transit system and other kinds of mobility options for the community.”

A big topic of the night was the integration of public transportation, and private transportation such as ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber. Brittany Cameron, operations manager for Lyft, said that multimodal transportation, or using multiple modes of transportation to get to one place, can increase ridership in public transit.

“We really need to help people figure out multimodal transportation, so by introducing and exposing everyone to the different options, that’s really how you increase ridership in public transit,” Cameron said.

When it comes to traffic, Cameron said single-occupancy vehicles — personal vehicles -— create more congestion, so integrating ridesharing into public transit can help ease said congestion.

“It’s about changing behavior. When you take a bunch of single occupancy vehicles into a downtown area you have a lot of cars, but if you’re bringing in Lyft vehicles into downtown areas, then those drivers are doing multiple rides that are not bringing in new cars, it’s bringing in new people, keeping cars the same in the downtown area,” Cameron said.

Cameron also said that by working with public transportation agencies, private and public transportation services can help solve challenges in public transportation.

“It’s really important for private companies like Lyft to collaborate with transit agencies and cities to really work toward a wholistic approach to transportation,” Cameron said. “That’s how we’ll really fix a lot of the challenges that we see.”

Wilder said working with private transit industries can help cut costs while effectively transporting people to where they need to go.

“We can’t do that as a public transportation agency, our role is to carry as many people as we can in the most cost-effective way, so we realize we’re going to have to work with Uber, Lyft and micro transit to fulfill gaps in our system.”

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Jorge Espinoza can be reached at news@collegian or on Twitter @Jorgespinoza14.