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.

A train at the Red Line station in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council voted Thursday to place two transportation-related ballot measures in front of voters during the Nov. 3 election: a new property tax to help pay for transit expansion and a bond issue that would fund more active transportation projects. 

A Metrorail train is reflected in a mirror at the downtown Austin station.
Juan Figueroa for KUT

The Austin City Council and Capital Metro Board voted Friday to form a new local government corporation to oversee the funding and implementation of Project Connect, the transit expansion plan. 

The intersection of Cameron Road and the Highway 290 frontage road.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

The Austin Transportation Department has unveiled a new tool for the public to track the number of traffic crashes, injuries and deaths in the city. The Vision Zero Viewer allows people to see where the most crashes are happening and how the numbers this year compare to years past.

Cap Metro's red line metro station in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council voted Monday afternoon to move forward with plans to seek a property tax increase to help fund Project Connect, a plan to build more train and bus lines.

CAMPO hosts an open house in November looking at options for the Bergstrom Spur, an unused rail line in South Austin.
Samuel King / KUT

An unused rail line to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport could become a new hike-and-bike trail and even host a transit line in the future. The Capital Area Regional Planning Organization (CAMPO) and the City of Austin's Urban Trails Program are gathering input on what should happen with the line, known as the Bergstrom Spur.

Austin and Capital Metro unveiled a proposal on Wednesday that would fund 70% of Project Connect over 10 to 15 years.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Capital Metro Board and Austin City Council both endorsed the new $10 billion Project Connect long-term transit plan last month. But questions — made more acute by the pandemic-induced recession — remain: how much of the plan to pay for and when to do it? On Wednesday, leaders provided some initial answers.

A sign at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport displays health precautions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

One of the sectors that’s been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic is the aviation industry. Even as activity perks up a bit, passenger traffic and flights at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport are a fraction of what they were this time last year.

Capital Metro's Project Connect proposal includes expanded MetroRapid bus services as well as four additional rail lines.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro's Project Connect transit expansion plan got some initial OKs this summer. The transit agency's board approved its recommended system plan in June, and the Austin City Council passed a resolution supporting the plan. But this is just the beginning of the line.

A Capital Metro bus displays a public health message during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro launched 35 years ago Wednesday — July 1, 1985. As it marks that anniversary, the agency is facing both its biggest challenge, COVID-19, and its biggest opportunity, Project Connect. 

Capital Metro's Red Line station in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Capital Metro board unanimously approved the recommended plan for Project Connect, the regional vision for expanded transit service in the region. But hurdles remain, including coming up with a way to pay for the expansion and oversee its implementation. Voters could potentially decide on a property tax increase in November.

Some of the work in historically underserved areas has already begun, such as the Norwood Transit Center, which opened late last year in Northeast Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Capital Metro Board and Austin City Council are expected to vote Wednesday on a preferred plan for Project Connect, the proposal to expand the region’s transit system. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Policy Board approved a final list of projects that will be deferred to help pay for major improvements on I-35 in Austin, after months of debate. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro unveiled plans in early March for transit expansion in Austin, with additional rail and bus lines, along with a downtown subway-like tunnel. The plan was intended to help congestion stay manageable as the region was projected to double in population over the next 25 years.

Southwest Airlines planes prepare to depart from Austin Airport on Feb. 21, 2019.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A team of investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration was sent to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after a man was found dead on a runway, possibly struck by a plane. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A funding gap for the I-35 Capital Express project in Austin got a lot smaller Thursday, as the Texas Transportation Commission voted to allocate $3.4 billion as part of TxDOT’s 10-year transportation plan.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin’s streets are far less congested these days as people stay home to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Law enforcement is worried some drivers are taking empty streets as an invitation to speed, though – with dangerous results.

A Capital Metro bus displays a public health message to wash hands.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro's ridership has plunged by more than 60% since stay-at-home orders were put in place in response to COVID-19. But that means several thousand passengers are still riding the bus each day.

Those riders face a different experience than what existed just a few weeks ago. Routes have been cut to account for the drop in ridership, leaving some buses with more passengers and others with fewer.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro will be running fewer buses and trains on many routes starting Wednesday and is developing financial contingency plans in response to COVID-19. To protect drivers, Cap Metro is also asking passengers to enter buses through the rear door, unless they’re paying with cash or need the ramp.

City Council members and the Capital Metro Board of Directors meet discuss how to pay for plans to expand transit in the city.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Now that Capital Metro has revealed its preferred plan to expand transit in Austin, the question becomes how to pay for it. The Capital Metro board and Austin City Council tackled that question Monday during a joint work session.

An artist's rendering of a light-rail station platform.
Capital Metro

Capital Metro is going big when it comes to transit expansion in Austin. On Monday, its Project Connect team will not only recommend the construction of two light rail lines, but also a downtown tunnel to help them move along faster.

TxDOT

The Texas Transportation Commission discussed a solution Thursday to the funding gap for the Interstate 35 Capital Express project. Leaders have found $4.3 billion, which would allow the portion through the heart of Austin to move forward.

A Capital Metro bus
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A tentative labor deal has been reached between the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1091 and MV Transportation, which handles bus operations and maintenance services for Capital Metro.

A construction crew works on the site of the future Capital Metro downtown station.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The construction site for the new downtown station for Capital Metro's Red Line sits in a busy area near the intersection of Fourth Street and Red River Street, close to the Austin Convention Center.

That area is going to get even busier in a few weeks, when South by Southwest kicks off March 13.

A road sign says: "You're not a candle...Don't drive lit."
Photo: Gabriel C. Pérez/Illustration: Matt Largey / KUT

Traffic is one constant of life in Austin. But every so often, there’s something that breaks the monotony of brake lights: a sign reminding you that "You’re not a candle, so don’t drive lit" or "Designate a driver BE-VO the game."

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is set to recommend a number of rules regarding scooters on Austin’s trail system, such as speed limits and geofencing to keep scooters off of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail.

Rainey Street is being closed to vehicle traffic Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during a pilot program.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The City of Austin has been closing Rainey Street to vehicle traffic on weekend nights for the last two months as part of a pilot program to gauge the impact closures would have on safety and mobility.

Pedestrians cross the street in downtown Austin.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A local transportation group hopes a first-of-its-kind study encourages fewer employees to drive alone to work in downtown Austin.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The Austin City Council wants to get the word out that it’s illegal to dump scooters in bodies of water around town. In a resolution passed Thursday, members also directed staff to look into conducting a study on the effects of scooters polluting the city’s waterways.

A biker rides in a bike lane down Guadalupe Street.
Julia Reihs / KUT

For years, the City of Austin often waited for complaints before ticketing drivers who parked in bike lanes. Now, that policy is changing: The Austin Transportation Department said Tuesday it plans to increase staffing to eventually dedicate two officers per shift to actively enforce the rules.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As leaders consider how to fund an expansion of Austin's transit system, they've determined borrowing money through bonds may not be enough. So they're considering whether to ask voters to increase taxes to help pay for it.

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