Transportation http://kut.org en An 11,000-Mile Trip, a 1949 Car, and One Big Point About U.S. Infrastructure http://kut.org/post/11000-mile-trip-1949-car-and-one-big-point-about-us-infrastructure <p>Can you compare a 1949 <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson_Motor_Car_Company">Hudson car</a> to America’s aging infrastructure?</p><p>Best-selling author and award-winning journalist <a href="http://www.danmcnichol.com/">Dan McNichol</a> thinks so –&nbsp;and says it's time to rebuild.</p><p>McNichol is driving an antique Hudson across the United States for several months, traveling 11,000 miles with stops in cities including Boston, San Diego, Washington and Austin to raise awareness about the state of America’s infrastructure –&nbsp;and what can be done about it.</p><p> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 20:28:24 +0000 Reynaldo Leanos 10771 at http://kut.org An 11,000-Mile Trip, a 1949 Car, and One Big Point About U.S. Infrastructure Think Traffic is Bad Now? By 2035, It Could Take 3 Hours to Get From Austin to Round Rock http://kut.org/post/think-traffic-bad-now-2035-it-could-take-3-hours-get-austin-round-rock <p>These days Austin is known as much for traffic as it is for live music or five-hour-long barbecue lines.&nbsp;</p><p>If you've been commuting in Austin for a while, you might have noticed the traffic isn't exactly getting better. Despite flirtations with building a six-lane highway, constructing a long overdue urban rail system and even "sequestering" I-35 under concrete, commute times are not only stagnant, they're getting worse. In 2011, the state commissioned a study on major roadways which found — despite all those improvements — it could take Austin commuters up to three hours to get to Round Rock by 2035.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/157857932&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 11:06:00 +0000 Ben Philpott 10753 at http://kut.org Think Traffic is Bad Now? By 2035, It Could Take 3 Hours to Get From Austin to Round Rock Federal Highway Program Could Run Out Of Money Next Month http://kut.org/post/federal-highway-program-could-run-out-money-next-month Congress has yet another problem it can't solve.<p>For years, the main federal transportation program has been spending more money than it takes in. Thu, 03 Jul 2014 21:39:13 +0000 Alan Greenblatt 10732 at http://kut.org Federal Highway Program Could Run Out Of Money Next Month Council Holds Key Vote on Austin Urban Rail: A Look at What's at Stake http://kut.org/post/council-holds-key-vote-austin-urban-rail-look-whats-stake <p>A proposal to build a $1.4 billion urban rail line in Austin faces a key vote today in the city council. The 9.5 mile urban rail line would run from Riverside Drive and Grove, through downtown to Highland Mall.</p><p>Supporters of the plan say that route is going to see a lot of growth over the next few years. Opponents wonder why it’s not going in where things are already happening. Like, along Lamar or Guadalupe.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/156132940&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 26 Jun 2014 15:48:29 +0000 Nathan Bernier 10683 at http://kut.org Council Holds Key Vote on Austin Urban Rail: A Look at What's at Stake Uber's Rapid Growth Pits Innovation Against Existing Laws http://kut.org/post/ubers-rapid-growth-pits-innovation-against-existing-laws To see the speed of technological innovation, look no further than a street corner. Hailing a cab from the street is less common in cities with Uber, a service that lets you request a ride with the simple tap of a mobile phone app.<p>The 5-year-old company — <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/06/06/319527353/uber-car-service-company-is-now-valued-at-17-billion">now valued at $17 billion</a> — is growing so fast that it's operating in 128 cities globally, on every continent except Antarctica. Thu, 12 Jun 2014 11:34:16 +0000 Elise Hu 10584 at http://kut.org Uber's Rapid Growth Pits Innovation Against Existing Laws Why is Project Connect Handing Out This Inaccurate Urban Rail Map? http://kut.org/post/why-project-connect-handing-out-inaccurate-urban-rail-map <p><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Disclosure: Project Connect is a sponsor of&nbsp;KUT.&nbsp;</em></p><p><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;">Update</strong><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 22px;">: Project Connect has issued a new flyer. Scroll to the bottom of this post to read it.&nbsp;</span></p><p><strong>Original story:</strong> If you were out and about in Austin this weekend, you may have met someone from the outreach team of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.projectconnect.com/">Project Connect</a>, a multi-agency group working on mass transit options for the region. In an effort to promote a series of meetings regarding <a href="http://kut.org/post/project-connects-14-billion-proposal-austin-urban-rail">an urban rail proposal</a> that will likely end up before voters this fall, the outreach team was passing out flyers showing the proposed first rail line in Hyde Park.&nbsp;But those flyers don’t accurately show what that proposed line is, and now one neighborhood advocate is accusing Project Connect of misleading the public.</p><p>A few hundred Austinites got a flyer (above) from a Project Connect outreach team this weekend showing its overall long-term transit vision for the city. At the bottom right corner of the flyer, a big orange bubble screams, “Let’s Get Moving!” The flyer shows rail to the airport, rail along the major corridors of Lamar and Congress, and along the MoPac freeway. In essence, rail lines that have the potential to replace lots of cars on the road. The map is titled "Proposed First Line of Urban Rail." There is no legend indicating what the various routes depicted are.&nbsp;</p><p>But if you were to actually pass out an accurate map of the proposed first line that voters may decide on this fall – which in its latest iteration would run along East Riverside, through downtown and&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">tunneling under and then paralleling a portion of&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.capmetro.org/metrorail/" style="line-height: 1.5;">the existing&nbsp;MetroRail&nbsp;line</a>&nbsp;up to Highland Mall – it would actually look very different.</p><p> Tue, 10 Jun 2014 19:37:15 +0000 Terrence Henry 10570 at http://kut.org Why is Project Connect Handing Out This Inaccurate Urban Rail Map? TxDOT Backs Plans to Bury I-35 – Just Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting http://kut.org/post/txdot-backs-plans-bury-i-35-just-don-t-hold-your-breath-waiting <p>Sorry, Austin – there's no money to improve the Interstate 35 corridor. At least not enough for a full face-lift, according to the <a href="http://www.txdot.gov/">Texas Department of Transportation</a>.</p><p>But as money becomes available, TxDOT says it will continue working on portions of the highway. At <a href="http://www.mobility35openhouse.com/">a media workshop today</a>, the state agency said that by the end of the year it should move from the planning stages of I-35 improvements and into studying their environmental impact. That should take about two years. And then – if funding is available – it will be time to start implementing changes.</p><p> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 21:20:21 +0000 Joy Diaz 10535 at http://kut.org TxDOT Backs Plans to Bury I-35 – Just Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting With This App, Your Pics Could Get Handicapped Parking Violators Ticketed http://kut.org/post/app-your-pics-could-get-handicapped-parking-violators-ticketed <p>Advocates for the disabled are calling out drivers for parking illegally in handicapped spaces – and they now have both technology and government on their side.</p><p>A new app called <a href="http://www.parkingmobility.com/">Parking Mobility</a> allows citizen volunteers to submit photos of handicapped parking violators directly to authorities. Today, the Travis County Commissioners Court voted unanimously to move forward with a six month pilot program allowing qualified volunteers to become deputies whose submissions can turn into citations. The current penalty for illegal parking in a handicapped space is a minimum fine of $500.</p><p> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 19:43:47 +0000 Ryan Kailath 10531 at http://kut.org With This App, Your Pics Could Get Handicapped Parking Violators Ticketed Report: Austin's One of the Country's Most Dangerous Areas for Pedestrians http://kut.org/post/report-austins-one-countrys-most-dangerous-areas-pedestrians <p>Austin is the country's 24<sup>th</sup><sup> </sup>most dangerous metro area for pedestrians, according to a new report.</p><p><a href="http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/documents/dangerous-by-design-2014/dangerous-by-design-2014.pdf">"Dangerous by Design 2014" [PDF]</a>, a study from the National Complete Streets Coalition and <a href="http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/complete-streets">Smart Growth America</a>, examines pedestrian deaths in the country's 51 biggest metro areas.</p><p>The study factors five years of data on pedestrian deaths (2008-2012) with the percentage of area commuters that walk to work to create a Pedestrian Danger Index. The Austin-Round Rock index is 78.6, well above the national average of 52.2. The area averages 1.44 pedestrian deaths for every 100,000 residents, which is actually somewhat below the national average of 1.56. Overall, the Austin-Round Rock area had 251 pedestrian deaths from 2003 to 2012.</p><p> Tue, 20 May 2014 19:14:23 +0000 Wells Dunbar 10457 at http://kut.org Report: Austin's One of the Country's Most Dangerous Areas for Pedestrians This is Project Connect's $1.4 Billion Proposal for Austin Urban Rail http://kut.org/post/project-connects-14-billion-proposal-austin-urban-rail <p>Austin officials unveiled plans today for the city's first urban rail line.</p><p>The 9.5 mile long line would run along East Riverside Drive and turn north near the Austin-American Statesman building, cross Lady Bird Lake via bridge, continue through downtown and the University of Texas and end at Highland Mall. The plan also calls for four park &amp; ride areas, two each toward opposite ends of the line. &nbsp;</p><p>The project cost is estimated at $1.38 billion. Officials with <a href="http://projectconnect.com/">Project Connect</a>, the working group of city, Capital Metro, and other regional transportation officials that made today's recommendation, say they believe the federal government would pay for half of that estimated cost.</p><p> Fri, 02 May 2014 21:08:26 +0000 Nathan Bernier 10349 at http://kut.org This is Project Connect's $1.4 Billion Proposal for Austin Urban Rail As Austin Nears Urban Rail Decision, Proof Traffic's Always Been Awful http://kut.org/post/austin-nears-urban-rail-decision-proof-traffics-always-been-awful <p>Austin is inching its way towards the creation of a possible new rail line.</p><p>Later today<a href="http://projectconnect.com/" style="line-height: 1.5;">, Project Connect</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, a group of regional transportation officials including the City of Austin and Capital Metro, is widely expected to unveil a proposed route for urban rail. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The announcement is a further refinement of preliminary findings tapping </span><a href="http://kut.org/post/highland-and-east-riverside-austins-best-spots-urban-rail" style="line-height: 1.5;">the East Riverside and Highland Mall regions</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> as prime corridors for investment – a finding many </span><a href="http://kut.org/post/why-highland-urban-rail-advocates-question-project-connect-process" style="line-height: 1.5;">Austin transit advocates found fault with.</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Once set for the ballot by the Austin City Council, citizens will vote on whether to approve rail funding in an election this November.&nbsp;</span></p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/147575061&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe> Fri, 02 May 2014 16:53:50 +0000 Joy Diaz & Wells Dunbar 10348 at http://kut.org As Austin Nears Urban Rail Decision, Proof Traffic's Always Been Awful Get Ready for This Red River Street Closure That Lasts Into 2015 http://kut.org/post/get-ready-red-river-street-closure-lasts-2015 <p>You may want to take a drive along Red River Street this weekend: it’s your last chance before the street is realigned to make way for UT-Austin's <a href="http://kut.org/post/how-central-health-seton-uts-medical-school-want-change-health-care-forever">new Dell Medical School</a>.</p><p>Starting Monday, Red River Street will be closed from Martin Luther King Boulevard to 15<sup>th</sup> Street – and it’s not scheduled to re-open until January.</p><p> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 18:58:42 +0000 KUT Staff 10203 at http://kut.org Get Ready for This Red River Street Closure That Lasts Into 2015 Why It's So Damn Hard to Move the Taco Bell Tree http://kut.org/post/why-its-so-damn-hard-move-taco-bell-tree <p><strong><a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2014/03/25/why-its-so-damn-hard-to-move-a-heritage-tree/">From StateImpact&nbsp;Texas:&nbsp;</a></strong></p><p>Back in the 1970s and '80s, it probably looked like something out of&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106677/" style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(96, 120, 144); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">Dazed and Confused</a>. Teenagers pulling up in T-Birds, wind in their hair, to hang out in the parking lot of a Taco Bell. The sun would set in the Hill Country to the west, sending a glow through the branches of an old Live Oak tree. Today the Taco Bell and the teenagers are long gone, but the tree remains, affectionately known as the "<a data-mce-="" href="http://www.austinheritagetreefoundation.com/Taco_Bell_Tree.html" style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(96, 120, 144); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">Taco Bell Tree</a>."</p><p style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); margin-bottom: 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">It's also now at an intersection best known for being a traffic nightmare –&nbsp;the Y at Oak Hill&nbsp;–&nbsp; where two highways intersect and a third road feeds into the jumble. In order to improve that intersection, the state embarked on a&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=198583" style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(96, 120, 144); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">temporary plan</a>&nbsp;to expand it that would help for the next five years, while something longer term is put into place. The plan included cutting down the Taco Bell Tree, which has been here long before drive-thrus (or even combustion engines).<em style="line-height: 1.5; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/03/12/alright_alright_alright_matthew_mcconaughey_got_it_from_jim_morrison_watch.html" style="font-style: normal; line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(96, 120, 144); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">All right, all right, all right.</a></em></p><p style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); margin-bottom: 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/141343300&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 17:53:24 +0000 Terrence Henry 10031 at http://kut.org Why It's So Damn Hard to Move the Taco Bell Tree Why Austin Taxi Drivers Can't Refuse a Ride Based on Destination http://kut.org/post/why-austin-taxi-drivers-cant-refuse-ride-based-destination <p>Have you ever been denied a cab ride in Austin?</p><p>After last week's deadly crash on Red River Street, there's been calls for more and better public transportation and taxi service.</p><p>But during special events like South by Southwest, it seems like more and more Austin taxis refuse to take riders for a variety of reasons. Carlton Thomas with the City of Austin’s Parking Enterprise says the most common reason is that "drivers are not interested in taking the short trips." &nbsp;</p><p>He should know, because all complaints about cab drivers come to his department.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/140186225&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 13:59:49 +0000 Joy Diaz 9984 at http://kut.org Why Austin Taxi Drivers Can't Refuse a Ride Based on Destination SXSW Crash Raises Concerns About Barricade Safety http://kut.org/post/sxsw-crash-raises-concerns-about-barricade-safety <p>Every year during South by Southwest, police use barricades to create pedestrian-only streets.&nbsp;They’re meant to protect the large crowds that descend on the city.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But early Thursday morning, a driver <a href="http://kut.org/post/two-dead-after-driver-plows-sxsw-crowd-suspect-custody">plowed through one of those barricades</a>, killing two people and injuring 23 others.</span></p><p>Now, some people, like pedestrian safety expert Rob Reiter, are questioning if the city should put more protective barriers in place.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">He says crashes like the one last night are preventable if the right types of barricades are used.</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/139459968&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 14 Mar 2014 00:07:38 +0000 Kate McGee 9960 at http://kut.org SXSW Crash Raises Concerns About Barricade Safety How Driverless Cars Could Change the Way We Travel http://kut.org/post/how-driverless-cars-could-change-way-we-travel <p>Self-driving cars are coming. It’s just a matter of when. Last year, four states passed laws allowing driverless cars on the road. &nbsp;But for Chandra Bhat, director of the <a href="http://www.utexas.edu/research/ctr/">Center for Transportation Research </a>at the University of Texas, the question is how driverless cars will affect <em>other </em>consumer choices people make: where they live, what types of cars they own, when they travel?</p><p>Listen to Bhat talk about some of those ways below.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/138936860&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Bhat spoke at SXSW&nbsp;Interactive on Monday about the implications of driverless cars.</p><p> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 22:49:01 +0000 Kate McGee 9935 at http://kut.org How Driverless Cars Could Change the Way We Travel Cutting Down on Traffic With an App: Austin Introduces Carma Carpooling http://kut.org/post/cutting-down-traffic-app-austin-introduces-carma-carpooling <p><em>Disclosure: Carma is a sponsor of KUT.&nbsp;</em></p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mobilityauthority.com/">Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority</a>&nbsp;cut the ribbon today on a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mobilityauthority.com/monkeewrench/files/resources/Carma_Austin_Press_Release_Feb__27_2014.pdf">new project</a> that could reduce traffic congestion while saving drivers money.</p><p>The project is a public-private partnership between the city and state transportation officials, the CTRMA, Texas A&amp;M and a ride-sharing app: <a href="https://car.ma/index.html">Carma.</a></p><p>Carma is based on the concept of "casual carpooling." Paul Steinberg, vice president of business operations for Carma, calls it a mutually beneficial model that affords people rides and grants drivers access to cheaper toll roads and high occupancy vehicle lanes.</p><p> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 21:35:02 +0000 Kelly Krupa 9867 at http://kut.org Cutting Down on Traffic With an App: Austin Introduces Carma Carpooling Austin Drivers Should Slow Down in School Zones Today Though Lights May Not Flash http://kut.org/post/austin-drivers-should-slow-down-school-zones-today-though-lights-may-not-flash <p>Many area school kids are in class today despite the Presidents' Day holiday. They’re <a href="http://kut.org/post/schools-will-have-make-snow-days-starting-monday" target="_blank">making up for a day missed</a> due to winter weather.</p><p>City of Austin Transportation crews are <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/news/use-caution-school-zones-presidents-day" target="_blank">working to manually re-program flashing school zone lights</a> warning drivers to slow down. But only about one-sixth were ready before the start of school this morning.</p><p>“If a driver comes up to a school zone and they know that the school is in session and the flasher aren’t going, they should use that same level of caution, drive slower and be aware of students in the area," city spokesperson Samantha Park said. Mon, 17 Feb 2014 18:46:11 +0000 Laura Rice 9796 at http://kut.org Austin Drivers Should Slow Down in School Zones Today Though Lights May Not Flash U.S. One Step Closer To Future Where Cars Talk To Each Other http://kut.org/post/us-one-step-closer-future-where-cars-talk-each-other The United States is one step closer to a future where cars will communicate with each other to avoid accidents.<p>The Department of Transportation announced on Monday it was moving forward with the steps necessary to one day mandate vehicle-to-vehicle — V2V — communication technology on light automobiles.<p>The big deal here is that research — including a 3,000-vehicle test of the system in Ann Arbor, Mich. Mon, 03 Feb 2014 20:37:20 +0000 9702 at http://kut.org U.S. One Step Closer To Future Where Cars Talk To Each Other Is Capital Metro's New MetroRapid Service Leaving Bus Riders Behind? http://kut.org/post/capital-metros-new-metrorapid-service-leaving-bus-riders-behind <p><em>Disclaimer: Capital Metro is a sponsor of KUT.</em></p><p>Capital Metro's new <a href="http://www.capmetro.org/metrorapid2.aspx">MetroRapid</a> bus service launched on Sunday. And with the new route came additional service changes some say give short-shrift to existing riders on Cap Metro's most popular lines.</p><p>MetroRapid line 801 travels from Southpark Meadows to the Tech Ridge area in North Austin. Its route through the urban core – along South Congress Avenue and Guadalupe Street – parallels Cap Metro's 1L and 1M bus lines, the routes with the highest ridership in Austin. And another route – the 101 Express – traveled largely along the same line. (<a href="http://www.capmetro.org/news-item.aspx?id=3107">Read more about service changes</a>.)</p><p> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 23:04:10 +0000 Wells Dunbar 9693 at http://kut.org Is Capital Metro's New MetroRapid Service Leaving Bus Riders Behind?