transportation

Gabriel Cristóval Pérez / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: While most of Austin slept early Friday morning, City Council gave the green light to a mobility bond with little historical precedent.

Just after 1:30 a.m., following a tortuous and fraught discussion marked by simmering tensions that at times neared outright hostility, Council voted 8-3 to direct staff to prepare ballot language for a $720 million grab bag of road, sidewalk, bike and transit infrastructure.

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

From the Austin Monitor: It appears that United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx has decided that Austin is not a Smart City.

On Tuesday, Ohio’s two members of the U.S. Senate announced that their state capital, Columbus, won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge and the $50 million purse that comes with the title.

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. 


Graphic by Andrew Weber/KUT

From the Austin Monitor: A poll commissioned by the Austin Monitor with the help of sponsors shows that more people approve of Mayor Steve Adler’s job performance than that of City Council as a whole — with 51 percent of respondents endorsing Adler’s leadership, compared to 40 percent approval for Council.


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.


Flickr/faungg (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Traffic, congestion, delayed drive times – problems Texans know all too well.

The state's population boom has lawmakers and transportation officials scrambling to alleviate traffic issues. Last session the Legislature passed a constitutional amendment diverting millions from Texas' Rainy Day Fund into transportation projects. While one easy answer to our transportation woes is to build more roads, not everyone agrees.

 


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

From The Austin Monitor: With their eyes on a possible transportation bond election in November, City Council members on Thursday kicked off a process for determining which items the public will be asked to weigh in on this fall.

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: The Texas Transportation Commission unveiled a$1.3 billion plan Wednesday targeted at reducing traffic congestion on some of the most clogged Texas roadways.

The plan calls for the Texas Department of Transportation to direct funds for 14 roadway projects specifically designed to relieve gridlock around the state's five largest cities: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

The president of General Motors now says plans with Lyft to bring a fleet of self-driving cars to Austin were only hypothetical. But, what kind of regulations do self-driving cars face in Texas?

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

Austin taxpayers may be asked to help pay for improvements on I-35 this year. Mayor Steve Adler is floating the idea of a bond election in November.

Austin voters have rejected a number of bonds in the past few years, but, as Mayor Adler tells KUT’s Nathan Bernier in this uncut conversation, affordability and transportation spending are not mutually exclusive. 

The Austin Monitor, the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and KUT News present the second edition of CitySummit on Friday, Dec. 4, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at UT Austin's Thompson Conference Center.

KUT News

Employees of a Colorado-based non-profit will soon move to Austin to begin studying the city’s various commuting woes as part of a partnership finalized Thursday.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: With more than 90 percent of all precincts counted, statewide measures aimed at cutting property taxes, boosting funding for road projects and reiterating Texans' right to hunt and fish appeared headed toward easy passage Tuesday evening.

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Increased operational fees for the ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft are heading to the Austin City Council.

The measures were approved by the council’s Mobility Committee yesterday, along with new fingerprint background checks – to the objection of the companies.


Sara Jasmine Montgomery for KUT

From the Austin Monitor

Everyone is aware that Austin has major traffic problems, but not everyone agrees on how to fix them. A new report, however, may help bridge some of those gaps by presenting the 10 most popular ideas that community members generated and supported during an outreach effort earlier this year.

Mayor Steve Adler, City Council Member Ann Kitchen and others will attend a press conference Thursday morning to announce the release of the MobilityATX Findings Report, the outcome of a public-private partnership led by nonprofit think tank Glasshouse Policy aimed at mobilizing the public to help shape transportation policy in Austin.

Shelby Knowles/Texas Tribune

As cities worldwide struggle to balance the fast growth of vehicle-for-hire apps with traditional taxi services, three Texas cities are providing an unexpected test of where the regulatory breaking point lies for Uber and Lyft. 

Houston, San Antonio and Austin currently take different approaches to a key regulatory issue: whether vehicle-for-hire app drivers must undergo fingerprint background checks.

Terrence Henry/KUT News

There are a lot more options for getting around Austin these days other than driving your own car, and even more apps and technology to help you navigate those options. But some of the big investors in this new technology may surprise you. They aren't just coming from Silicon Valley — Detroit and others in the auto industry are getting in on the action as well.

Take the Austin-based RideScout, for example. "RideScout is essentially the Kayak of ground transportation," says Joseph Kopser, RideScout CEO. Kopser is a veteran who came to SXSW a few years back with an idea: What if you could take something like transportation and mobility, and make it as easy as booking a flight or hotel room?

Erroneous Toll Bills Fuel Criticism at TxDOT Hearing

Feb 11, 2015
Bill Jacobus/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

Approximately 30,000 Texas drivers with valid TxTag accounts erroneously received bills in the mail for using the state’s toll roads, officials with the Texas Department of Transportation and Xerox told state senators Wednesday during a tense hearing.

“I thought it was going to be a large number, but I didn’t think it would be so large,” state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, said a a Senate Transportation Committee hearing. TxDOT officials said they plan to refund all of the people who were erroneously charged, but they acknowledged there could be others who might not know they were incorrectly charged.

Via Mark Stevens, flickr.com/photos/14723335@N05/

From the Austin Monitor:

Plans to convert downtown’s Seventh, Eighth, Brazos and Colorado streets from one-way to two-way streets are underway.

On Monday, City Council’s Comprehensive Planning and Transportation Committee heard a presentation on a timeline for the change from acting Transportation Department Assistant Director Jim Dale.

“A lot of cities have gone through this process, of being two-way initially, then going to one-way to help move capacity to move a lot more vehicles,” said Dale. “But as we start to look at the pedestrian realm and looking at the complete streets … the two-way conversion does lend itself to a more pedestrian-friendly environment, with a tendency to slow down traffic.”

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