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Alternatives Analysis

Under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Federal Transit Administration and RTD were required to rigorously explore and objectively evaluate a reasonable range of alternatives before selecting a Preferred Alternative. The North Metro Rail Line EIS evaluated numerous alternatives to meet the Purpose and Need for the corridor.  Alternatives were developed and evaluated to address the travel markets in the North Metro rail line study area, to minimize environmental impacts, and in response to input from the agency and public involvement process.  The alternatives each include several elements, including alignments, transit modes, vehicle technologies, transit station locations, and service. 

The team conducted increasingly detailed analysis at each of the five levels of Alternatives Analysis.  Many alternatives were ruled out early on -- either because of severe impacts, technical unfeasibility, cost or lack of community support. The remaining alternatives were refined and evaluated, until the Preferred Alternative (see map below) was selected. 

NOTE: Map is up to date as of November 2010.

Light rail transit (LRT) technology does not comply with FRA vehicle safety standards, and with the position of each of the railroad companies, LRT cannot be implemented within these freight railroad rail lines.  As a result, the FRA-compliant commuter rail technologies that were considered for the railroad alignment alternatives are diesel multiple unit (DMU) and electric multiple unit (EMU). After extensive analysis and public input considerations, EMU was recommended over DMU as the preferred vehicle technology in the DEIS.

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