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.

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.


Bob Daemmerich/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: A private company that operates part of the Texas toll road with the highest speed limit in the country filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, fewer than three years after the section of the road it oversees first opened.

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Austin's traffic problems are pretty much woven into the fiber of this city at this point. We've got the most congested roadway in the state in I-35, which causes plenty of traffic-related frustrations for many a commuter, but we've also got 10 other roadways on the list of the top 100 most congested roadways. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT News

Everything’s in place for a May 7 vote on rules governing ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft. But which set of rules will drivers be living under until then? It gets a little complicated.


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.

flickr user mirsasha

Members of Austin’s Public Safety Commission are calling for changes to a city plan that aims to eliminate traffic deaths in the city. 

Commission member Mike Levy criticized the Vision Zero task force’s draft plan, which includes more than 100 recommendations aimed at making Austin’s roadways safer, calling it a "kitchen sink."

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 Transportation Security Administration released statistics on the number of firearms seized at airports in 2015 today and half of the top 10 airports for weapon seizures were in Texas.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News.

This story was produced as part of a reporting partnership between KUT and the Austin Monitor

Without much pomp save for the “Shine On” T-shirt she wears, Monique Mitchell stands with fellow Lyft driver Mo Ratel at the edge of Austin’s Zilker Park, scanning the field below. It’s a sunny Wednesday afternoon; dogs and their owners dot the grass. Mitchell and Ratel each grip a pen and a clipboard brimming with blank petitions.

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. 

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Supporters of Uber and Lyft are planning to collect at least 20,000 signatures to force the Austin City Council to back off new regulations it adopted for ride-hailing apps or put the issue to a public vote.

From the Austin Monitor

From the Austin Monitor: Capital Metro has scaled down its ambitions for a permanent MetroRail station in downtown Austin. The transit agency showed off at a public meeting on Friday its preferred concept for the station, a much more conventional rendering compared to the swooping modernist proposals floated last year.

Council Hears First Proposals for Vision Zero Plan

Dec 8, 2015
Callie Hernandez/KUT News

This year, Austin has seen more traffic deaths than any other year on record, with 92 people having died on the roadways in 2015 so far.

Last November, the Austin City Council commissioned the Vision Zero Task Force to find solutions for the perennial problem of traffic deaths, and Tuesday the task force outlined a draft of its proposals to the Austin City Council.

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