Undergraduate Honors Theses


Analysis of Non-SOV Transportation Programs and Contribution to a Socially Just Transportation System in Boulder, Colorado

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

First Advisor

David Ciplet

Second Advisor

Beth Osnes

Third Advisor

Dale Miller


Boulder has made a climate commitment which is guiding many policies. This commitment includes four components: 100% renewable electricity generation by 2030, 100 megawatts of local renewable energy generation by 2030, an 80% reduction in community GHG emissions by 2050, and an 80% reduction in emissions from city organizations by 2030.

Plans for meeting these goals could follow two main scenarios:

1. The City of Boulder meets the goals through benefiting some individuals and not others. The focus is the end result, and not the means to get there.

2. The entire community benefit’s from meeting the goals. This scenario has an emphasis on the means (or the benefits to each individual) rather than only the end result of the goal.

While both situations can successfully meet Boulder’s climate commitments, I am interested in advocating for the second scenario. I believe everyone in the community can benefit from strategic planning which incorporates equity into new policies and implementation.

My analysis looks specifically at non-single occupancy vehicle (SOV) transportation programs in Boulder. I contacted and researched each program to gain an understanding of how they aim to meet certain needs for individuals.

Each transportation option addresses different social rights which increase individuals access. Interestingly, I also found a feedback loop of how transportation routes are planned. Many locations to access transportation routes are based on existence of other access points. This creates a centralized transportation system where some regions of the city have more access to transportation options than other regions.

This feedback loop, which I call “cyclic transportation planning,” highlights the necessity to plan critically and understand if Boulder is to reach the climate commitment goals, the transportation system will need to expand to reach critical populations who are currently excluded from many non-SOV transportation options.

Within the literature, there is not a comprehensive report on transportation systems from a social rights perspective, nor is there information on cyclic transportation planning. This report contributes both of these components to existing transportation literature.

This document is currently not available here.