Transportation

Traffic
2:26 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Map: Are These Austin's Worst Intersections?

The intersection around Sixth and Lamar got a nod as one of Austin's worst.
Callie Hernandez for KUT News

In Austin, it's a constant: Traffic.

There’s recent statewide and local efforts to mitigate congestion – which will take substantial investment and extensive construction. So despite proposals in the pipeline, traffic will continue to be a slow-going, fast-growing problem.

So, it got us wondering: What are the worst intersections in Austin? 

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Transportation
3:48 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Travis County Commissioners Support Long-Delayed SH 45 SW

The proposed 4-lane toll road would connect FM 1626 in Hays County and MoPac in Travis County.
Texas Department of Transportation

Travis County Commissioners have approved a resolution by a vote of 4-to-0 supporting the construction of State Highway 45 Southwest.  Commissioner Gerald Daugherty pushed for the resolution, after campaigning on getting the roadway built. He says population growth and traffic congestion demands action. And he believes the road could be built while protecting natural resources, despite a pending environmental review from TxDOT and push-back from environmentalists and stakeholders in the area. 

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Transportation
1:01 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

This Busy Strip of Guadalupe Street is Getting a Protected Bike Lane (Update)

The current bike detour on Guadalupe Street will eventually be part of a guarded bike lane running from 24th Street to MLK Boulevard.
Sebastian Herrera for KUT News

Update: While it was being used as soon as the concrete dried, today marks the official opening of the city’s latest “cycle track” – a protected stretch of bike lane on Guadalupe Street from MLK Jr. Boulevard to 24th Street.

“Street ambassadors” including representatives from Capital Metro and the police department will be present along the track to educate the public. They are located in front of the University Co-op today, and will reappear there on Monday. Oct. 21.

Non-profit Bike Austin has also launched an awareness campaign about the track. You can learn more about it here, and see a diagram of the cycle track below.

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Toll Roads
12:19 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

TxDOT Pressuring Toll Offenders: Pay Up or Be Named (Update)

With more than $27 million in uncollected tolls, the Texas Department of Transportation is hoping that harsher punishments – including releasing names of the 28,000 drivers with more than 100 unpaid tolls – will improve collections.
SH 130 Concession Company

Update: Central Texas residents owe the state more than $27 million in unpaid tolls, and Texas is trying out a new method to collect the dough.

On Thursday, the Texas Department of Transportation released its list of the top 25 toll violators in the state. Topping the list was a Pflugerville resident who had 14,358 unpaid toll transactions, which totaled $236,026. Second place went to a Hutto resident with 10,566 unpaid tolls that added up to $217,619.

Violators were from six cities: Pflugerville, Hutto, Round Rock, Austin, Taylor and Leander. If violators do not pay up, Senate Bill 1792, which passed earlier this year, gives TxDOT the authority to possibly deny the offender’s vehicle registration and ban them from using TxDOT toll roads. 

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Transportation
11:19 am
Fri October 11, 2013

UT Researchers Tackle Austin Traffic - With Help From Your Smartphone

Transportation researchers at UT have been awarded a federal grant to study transportation issues in Austin, using technology and data to improve traffic issues here and in cities across the country
KUT News

Chances are if you drive to work, you spend time in traffic every day.  Over the past five to ten years, Austin's traffic issues have just continued to worsen. And with real estate experts estimating more than 100 people move to Austin every day, it’s a problem that needs a solution.

A group of researchers at the University of Texas is hoping to change that. They’ve been awarded a $1.4 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to study traffic and transportation in Austin.

The center hopes to collect data that can provide immediate solutions for transportation problems in Austin and other cities across the country. 

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Urban Rail
10:59 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Austin Urban Rail in 7 Maps

Credit notevenpast.org

It's no secret that traveling through Austin comes with a price: traffic.

However, the way Central Texans commute could change by the turn of the next decade as the region seeks a potential solution to traffic: urban rail.

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Del Valle
9:56 am
Tue September 24, 2013

County Commissioners Approve Some Proposed Roads Near F1 Racetrack (Update)


View Proposed Roads Near F1 Racetrack in a larger map

Update: Travis County Commissioners have agreed to fund the construction of a new road in Del Valle near the Circuit of the Americas track using non-taxpayer approved bonds. Commissioner Margaret Gomez, who represents the area where the road will be built, says the project is critical for economic development.

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Public Transit
2:10 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Work on 'Bus-Only' Street Lanes Could Start in Austin Next Week

Capital Metro's new fleet of MetroRapid buses, pictured above, wouild
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Road construction that will result in bus-only lanes on Guadalupe and Lavaca streets could begin as soon as next week.

The “transit priority lanes” are part of the MetroRapid project by Capital Metro. Capital Metro will prohibit cars on the right-most lanes of Guadalupe and Lavaca Streets between Cesar Chavez Street and MLK Jr. Boulevard. Cars will be allowed to use the bus-only lanes to make right turns.  

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Transportation
10:43 am
Sat September 7, 2013

Austin-San Antonio Rail Project May Get Federal Funds

A pair of high-speed Eurostar trains in France. Austin and San Antonio leaders are in initial talks with federal officials regarding a rail project to link the cities.
flickr.com/matt_hintsa

Officials in Austin and San Antonio are in talks with the U.S. Department of Transportation about receiving federal funding to facilitate connecting the two cities via high-speed rail, according to local and federal officials.

“I think that that concept has a lot of promise, and we just have to continue working with the local community to see how to get it in shape and see what we can do on the federal level,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.

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Transportation
10:52 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Gravel Roads? Funding Cuts? Texas Transportation Proposals Create Confusion, Alarm

The Texas Transportation Commission met on Aug. 29, 2013 in Austin to discuss proposals related to funding shortages of the Texas Department of Transportation.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Last week people packed into a room in downtown Austin. The Texas Transportation Commission, which oversees the Texas Department of Transportation, was having it’s monthly meeting. There it got some advice from State Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso.

"I think it’s time for TxDOT to say we made a mistake," Rep. Pickett said.

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MoPac
3:33 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Learn More About Plan to Bury MoPac's Downtown Exit Ramps

There are few things most drivers despise more than sitting in traffic.  Add the sweltering heat of a Texas summer day, and you’ve introduced even more suffering.

That’s bad news for Austin, a city that was ranked fourth-worst nationally for traffic in 2013.  A good deal of this infamous congestion is born along MoPac.  Designed in 1961 to meet the needs of less than a quarter of a million people, MoPac has been under strain since the beginning of Austin’s demographic boom.  Today, the design is simply incapable of meeting the needs of the city’s burgeoning population.

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Transportation
12:21 pm
Mon September 2, 2013

Study Confirms the Obvious: Austin Drivers Aren't Very Safe

Austin's dropped six spots in Allstate's ranking of America's safest drivers.
Erik Reyna for KUT News

It may not be news to anyone trapped on Interstate 35, or suffering a meltdown on MoPac, but a new study confirms the obvious: Austin drivers are far less safe than the nationwide average, according to a study from insurance company Allstate.

Austin ranks among the bottom quarter of U.S. cities in Allstate’s “Americas Best Drivers” report – 155th out of 200 largest cities. The city actually fell six places from its ranking last year (149th), meaning Austin drivers have gotten less safe by Allstate's standards.

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Transportation
3:44 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

What Do You Think About Austin Bike Lanes? This Survey Wants to Know

The Neighborhood Street Study is a 12-page survey interested in perceptions of local bike lanes.
Roy Varney for KUT News

How do Austinites feel about the city’s bike lanes and bike traffic? The Neighborhood Street Study aims to answer this broad question by focusing on two Austin bicycling areas located around Bluebonnet Lane and Barton Springs Road.

Researchers from Portland State University and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium have been commissioned by the Green Lane Project to conduct the Austin survey. 

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Transportation
1:42 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Austin One Step Closer to Creating Pedestrian Advisory Council

A pedestrian advisory council would inform the city on what works for walkability – and what doesn’t.
flickr.com/boedker

The City of Austin is looking to create a pedestrian advisory council.

The pedestrian group would look at safety and walkability issues, making recommendations to city staff and the City Council. The proposal comes as city policy prioritizes denser, more walkable development – and also at a time when pedestrian deaths are on people’s minds: There were 78 traffic deaths (including pedestrians) in Austin last year.

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Transportation
3:05 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

A Deeper Look at Austin Plans to Bury I-35

Architect Sinclair Black’s “cut and cap” plan places access roads directly over the capped portion of I-35, freeing up more developable space.
Reconnect Austin

Austin traffic can be awful. And Austin drivers know that a great part of that congestion comes from stop-and-go traffic on Interstate 35.

Big problems demand big solutions – and the "cut and cap" proposal to bury I-35 is gaining momentum. The plan, developed by Austin architect Sinclair Black would “cut” I-35 from Cesar Chavez to 12th Street. Those lanes would then be built underground, and “capped” by something. The Austin City Council OK’d a closer look at the plan back in June.

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Transportation
12:50 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

You Can Bike on Austin Highways (And Yes, It’s a Horrible Idea)

The "spaghetti bowl" Mopac exchange in West Austin. Despite confusion, it's technically legal to ride your bike on the highway.
flickr.com/rutlo

Update: A sprawling discussion on the Austin page of Reddit - prompted by a photo of bicyclists on I-35 - has renewed interest in this topic. Read on for more details. 

Original story (April 3, 2013): Despite general public perception – and all standards of common sense – it’s actually legal to ride bicycles on the state highway.

Recently, users on the Austin page of Reddit got into a heated discussion about the legality of riding a bike on Mopac, when one user posted a photo of a couple people doing just that.

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Transportation
7:29 am
Tue July 30, 2013

As Special Session Nears End, Texas Roads May Go Without New Funding

As the second 2013 special session comes to an end on July 30, 2013, lawmakers will go home without having passed legislation to fund Texas roads and highways.
Liang Shi for KUT

On Monday, the Texas House rejected a measure that would have spent more on road construction and maintenance. 

If the proposal had passed, Texas roads and highways could have gotten an additional roughly $850 million a year. 

The measure failed to get the required 100 votes in the House. Now, lawmakers have their work cut out for them.

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Transportation
2:17 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

5 Ways Austin-Bergstrom Airport is Keeping Up with Growth

ABIA saw record-breaking travel in 2012 with 9.4 million passengers. So far, 2013 is up five percent from then.
flickr.com/drmillerlg

Austin’s airport has been cleared for takeoff.

Austin Bergstrom International Airport has been ranked among the country’s best since it opened in 1999. Housing only local shops and restaurants, travelers from around the world can enjoy a Salt Lick BBQ sandwich or a Ruta Maya coffee, even if Austin is only an hour-long layover along their journey.

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Transportation
12:28 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

How Tough Is It To Apply for Cap Metro's Disabled Transit Service?

MetroAccess applicants are assessed for their ability to get on and off a mock bus located at Capital Metro's eligibility center downtown.
Rachel Adams-Heard

It’s an exciting time for Capital Metro. The transportation authority is launching its MetroRapid bus service next year, and is looking to play a role in urban rail if and when rail launches.

But there’s one large constituency that’s dependent on Cap Metro right now: the disabled. For Austinites seeking independence while living with a disability, public transportation makes perfect sense. But some people are saying that Cap Metro is making it unfairly difficult for some disabled individuals to get around.

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Transportation
4:04 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Photos: First Look at Capital Metro's New MetroRapid Buses

MetroRapid holds up to 101 people and can make traffic lights stay green longer if running behind schedule.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin’s new MetroRapid buses don’t just hold more passengers – they hold traffic lights. 

"As the [buses] approach intersections – and if they are behind schedule – the traffic signal will remain green for up to seven seconds to give these buses additional time to cross the intersection," Capital Metro’s Joe Iannello said today. The group held a press conference to show off the new vehicles.

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