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. 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.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott says traffic congestion "costs rush hour drivers in Austin and Dallas more than $1,000 a year. And in Houston, it’s even more -- almost $1,500 a year." Is that a fact? KUT's Nathan Bernier asks Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas.


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.

Sarah Jasmine Montgomery for KUT

The City of Austin earned a gold-level designation this week from one of the nation's leading cycling advocacy groups, the League of American Bicyclists. That's one level below the highest designation of platinum.

KUT's Nathan Bernier asks cycling journalist Ian Dille what the city has done to earn the praise and what more it can do to encourage cycling as an alternate way of getting around.


Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Here’s a comforting thought: During your morning commute, there’s always one City of Austin employee watching you. Well, watching your car, at least, and the traffic you may or may not be stuck in.

Turns out, that employee may be getting some company in the future, as the city is now considering adding more people to its so-called Transportation Management Center.


Alfredo Mendez [CC BY-SA 4.0]/flickr

From the Austin Monitor: In the midst of a heated debate about requirements for fingerprint background checks and fees for transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft, the City Council Mobility Committee has tossed a slew of additional proposals into the pot.

I-35 in Austin Named the Most Congested Roadway in Texas

Nov 10, 2015
Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Austin drivers who complain about Interstate Highway 35 have been validated.

A new report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute named the stretch of I-35 between U.S. 290 N and SH 71 as the most congested roadway in Texas.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Wednesday 9:08 a.m. The FAA has reopened the top level of its permanent air traffic control tower at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. This allowed airport officials to open the second runway. The radar at the base of the tower still isn't working. You should still check with your airline before heading to the airport. 

EarlierAustin-Bergstrom International Airport will be down to one runway likely until the end of the week, and even then, it could take a while longer before flight schedules return to normal.

ABIA's air traffic control tower flooded last week after almost 15 inches of rain fell on the airport. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials cut electricity to the tower to evaluate the damage and clean-up. 


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.

KUT News

The ride-hailing operator Uber offered a case study on what it means to ride and drive using their app here in Austin. The information comes amid City Council discussion of the disclosure requirements for companies like Uber.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Starting this week, one of Austin’s most successful transportation programs will be more accessible to low-income Austinites. The B-cycle bike share program started a year and half ago. There’s been more than a quarter of a million bike trips on the system since, traveling more than 700,000 miles. Now, the company’s rolling out three new stations and new membership levels designed to include low-income residents.

There’s several membership options for the bike share system – locals can buy an annual one for $80 that gives them unlimited free trips under thirty minutes every year. And starting this week, any Austin resident making $25,000 or less a year can sign up for a membership that only costs $5 annually. 

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