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Central Texas has some of the best seats in the country for the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse April 8.

Travis County officials credit moderate eclipse traffic to planning and clouds

Boy in a black shirt with a gray logo in the shape of Texas and gray shorts looks up at the sky with eclipse glasses on.
Julius Shieh
KUT News
Travis County and Austin had many resources and plans in place for Monday's eclipse.

Monday’s total solar eclipse did not bring the massive crowds and traffic that some thought the Austin area might see.

The cloudy weather might have been the reason, but it also could have been the months-long preparation for the event. Several school districts canceled classes. Some businesses closed. And advice to stay home, or at least stay close to home, to experience the eclipse was heard.

For months, local officials warned residents to be prepared for an influx of people that could lead to road congestion and gridlock, overcrowded parks, and strains on gas stations and grocery stores. It was estimated that Travis County's population could double.

But no one knew exactly what was going to happen. The goal was to be prepared for anything.

Eric Carter, chief emergency management coordinator for Travis County, said that crowds and traffic were moderate.

“So that is the good news,” Carter said. “And as I've shared with my partners, if we had not prepared, what we did experience would have been a challenge.”

The city and county activated the emergency operations center on Sunday. More than 20 agencies across the region worked together to coordinate and put resources in place.

Lots of communication also went out on social media and was shared with several outlets warning of the event.

Hector Nieto, a spokesperson with Travis County said, "Monday was a good day.”

“We did everything we could leading up to that day, and if we did everything correctly, it would be a light day, and fortunately it was,” Nieto said.

In November, the Austin City Council passed a resolution that called for the creation of a plan for the eclipse that included all relevant city departments, including parks and recreation, the city's tourism bureau and the Austin Independent School District.

In March,Travis County declared a local disaster giving first responders better control and coordination of traffic and other needs during the eclipse. The county also required reservations for day passes to several county parks and registration for events with 50 people or more.

Just last week, officials made last-minute pleas for people to be prepared, especially with the many events happening before Monday.

In addition to the eclipse, Austin hosted the Statesman Capitol 10K, the CMT Music Awards and a regularly scheduled soccer game at the Q2 stadium. All of these were expected to put further strain on roads and resources.

Austin wasn't the only area not to see that large influx of people. Hays County and the Hill Country also reported seeing a lot of people, but not quite the overwhelming amount that was anticipated, Carter said.

County officials said they are still gathering data on traffic, crowd numbers and money generated from the eclipse. They also plan to gather feedback from people in attendance.

Still, there were a lot of people, and because of the regional coordination the traffic flow was good, Carter said.

Monday’s response was a region-wide effort, with plans that Carter said made it easy to communicate and coordinate.

"We are proud of the work that was done by everyone to step forward aggressively, look proactively at what was needed, put those resources into place, and then come together on game day," Carter said. "Overall, everything flowed well."

Luz Moreno-Lozano is the Austin City Hall reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @LuzMorenoLozano.
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