Since Boulder has operated under residential growth control ordinances since 1976, the growth of employment in the city has far outstripped population growth. Considerable road traffic enters the city each morning and leaves each afternoon, since many employees live in Longmont, Lafayette, Louisville, Broomfield, Westminster, and Denver. Boulder is served by US 36 and a variety of state highways. Parking regulations in Boulder have been explicitly designed to discourage parking by commuters and to encourage the use of mass transit, with mixed results.
Boulder, Colorado, a city of just over 100,000 people, is located approximately 30 miles northwest of Denver at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Boulder is home to the University of Colorado, whose 30,000 students swell the city’s population during the academic year. Over the years, Boulder has made significant investments in the multi-modal network. The city is now well known for its grade-separated bicycle and pedestrian paths, which are integrated into a network of bicycle lanes, cycle-tracks, and on-street bicycle routes. Boulder also provides an innovative community transit network that connects downtown, the University of Colorado campuses, and local shopping amenities. While the city has no rail transit, local and regional shuttle buses are funded by a variety of sources and emphasize minimal headways, enhanced route identity, easy fare payment, and community input in design (RTD, 2005). Due in part to these investments in pedestrian, bicycle, and transit infrastructure, Boulder has been recognized both nationally and internationally for its transportation system.
In 2009, the Boulder metropolitan statistical area (MSA) ranked as the fourth highest in the United States for percentage of commuters who biked to work (5.4 percent). In 2013, the Boulder MSA ranked as the fourth lowest in the United States for percentage of workers who commuted by private automobile (71.9 percent). During the same time period, 11.1 percent of Boulder area workers had no commute whatsoever: they worked out of the home.