Transportation

Traffic, public transit, congestion, road construction and closures, I-35, MoPac, US 290, US 183, Ben White Blvd, and policy and planning issues related to transportation and mobility in Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Lots of arguments were made for and against Austin's Proposition 1 ahead of the May election that ultimately sent Uber and Lyft packing.

But maybe the most compelling argument was the ever-present appeal to public safety – that the number of DWI arrests had dropped by nearly a quarter since Uber and Lyft rode into town in 2013. While that local number has been thoroughly raked over the coals (and even revised by APD), a new study suggests that the national impact of ride-hailing on drunk driving has been relatively moot.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT News

We’ve all been there. You’re stopped at a red light, it finally turns green, but the driver in front of you doesn’t seem to notice and doesn’t pull forward. You watch helplessly as the light changes to yellow, then red.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

While the Austin City Council rolls out a proposition that would build out bike-friendly infrastructure, Travis County leaders are continuing work of their own on a plan of their own to improve bicycle safety across the region.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Driving on the main lanes of I-35 can involve a lot of weaving, slowing and stopping. In the words of State Sen. Kirk Watson, it’s a mess. And it’s about to get even messier, at least for the next four years or so.


Sarah Jasmine Montgomery for KUT

Sharmar Mohamed Hassan doesn’t know the words in English to describe his bicycle. So he uses his native language, Somali, to tell me it’s a green road bike. And it’s his primary form of transportation in Austin — which, at times, can be a little touch-and-go.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Cars, buses and trucks idle at the four-way intersection at Guadalupe Street and West Dean Keeton Street. A horde of prospective students takes to the crosswalk, the timer counting down. 


Audrey McGlinchy / KUT

It looks like either way you slice it, there will be a mobility bond up for a public vote in November. The real question is, what will Austin voters be deciding on? 

Mayor Steve Adler has drafted one proposal, while Council Members Greg Casar and Leslie Pool have written another. And then there's Council member Ann Kitchen's proposal.  

Ride-Hailing Companies Bring Battle to the Legislature

Jun 8, 2016
Qiling Wang / The Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

Representatives from Uber and Lyft urged lawmakers to adopt statewide regulations for the ride-hailing industry during a Texas Capitol hearing on Wednesday, citing what they called burdensome local ordinances that have driven them to leave Austin and other Texas cities.

The companies fielded pointed questions from members of the House Committee on Business and Industry about safety concerns and how local regulations, like those in Austin, impact their operations.

Jeff Heimsath for KUT

From the Austin Monitor: As City Council members careen toward their first chat with the public over a potentially massive mobility bond, a new proposal for light rail investment has risen up from the grassroots.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: Mayor Steve Adler has blasted into the middle of the ongoing conversation about a November mobility bond election by proposing an estimated $720 million package of projects along Austin’s most vital arterials.


KUT News

The Austin City Council has approved a plan aimed at eliminating deaths and serious injuries on the city’s roads by the year 2025.

The plan, called Vision Zero, is based on a philosophy developed in Sweden in the 1990s. The idea is to treat traffic crashes like smoking – basically, as a public health problem that can be prevented. Last year, Austin had 102 traffic deaths – its highest number ever. There have been more than 20 deaths so far this year.


Spencer Selvidge for KUT News

This week, Capital Metro is presenting the latest findings from its Connections 2025 study, which seeks to revamp Austin’s public transit system over the next 10 years.

The new report looks at how Capital Metro’s services fit in with changing demographics, and shows that while Austin’s transit ridership is higher than cities like Dallas and San Antonio, it’s still declining. 

Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

From the Austin Monitor: The Urban Transportation Commission has once again given a boost to advocates for light rail in Austin.

At its meeting last week, the commission voted unanimously to recommend that City Council consider putting bonds for “rail options” on the November ballot.

Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

Last year, 102 people died on Austin’s roads. All this week, we’ve been looking at the plan in our series – the Road to Zero.

While we’ve heard the stories of victims and loved ones, we haven’t heard from those who respond to these deaths – in the minutes and days after. KUT’s Audrey McGlinchy spoke with three members of the Austin Police Department about their work and the toll it takes.


Austin is facing its first weekend in more than two years without Uber or Lyft. Both companies pulled out Monday to protest voter rejection of Proposition 1, which would have eliminated mandatory fingerprint-based background checks.

Opponents of Prop 1 responded to Uber and Lyft’s threat to leave by arguing that if there is money to be made on ride-hailing in Austin, other companies will replace them. The city’s taxis are not able to meet demand during peak hours and special events, according to one study, but anyone who’s tried to call a cab on a Saturday night prior to the arrival of Uber and Lyft could tell you that.

KUT

This story is part of our series, The Road to Zero, which explores traffic deaths and injuries in Austin and the city's plan to prevent them.

High speeds are one of the biggest killers on our roadways. As city officials tackle an uptick in traffic fatalities here in Austin, speed limits come up a lot.


KUT News

The Austin Transportation Department will consider untangling the city’s franchise model of taxi companies in an attempt to “address equity” between for-hire drivers in the city. The news comes after the failure of Proposition 1 on Saturday and the exit of ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft two days later.

The proposed changes would usher in an open market system for cabs, bringing them more in line with the way ride-hailing companies operate in the city. Historically the city has capped the number of cabs in the city – keeping that number of operating vehicles at just over 900.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

This story is part of our series, The Road to Zero, which explores traffic deaths and injuries in Austin and the city's plan to prevent them.

On January 13, 2015 at about 9:30 at night, 23 year old James Robison was driving his motorcycle on Riverside Drive toward downtown.

On the other side of the road, the driver of a Ford Focus had just gotten to Austin from Killeen. He and his passenger had come down to help a friend shoot a music video. They had put their friend’s address into a GPS app on his phone.

Caleb Pritchard for the Austin Monitor

From the Austin Monitor: A small Austin Transportation Department project that attracted worldwide headlines earlier this year has had a bumpier road than originally anticipated.

The polka-dotted intersection at East Sixth and Waller streets in East Austin became a minor sensation when crews first put it together back in January. The colorful design scored plaudits for keeping Austin weird in the service of something as mundane as traffic-calming. The project turned the intersection into a four-way stop and used white lines, polka dots and plastic bollards to claim for pedestrians large chunks of street space formerly given to cars.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon for KUT News

The new sound walls along MoPac are designed to reduce traffic noise from the highway going into surrounding neighborhoods, but some wonder if the new construction could become a target for vandals.


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