Transportation

_ Jonathan Cutrer/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Normally during the summer, millions of Americans travel by air every day. But that's not happening this year because of the pandemic. The number of air travelers has dropped to levels not seen since the 1950s, and that could permanently reshape the air travel business.

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. 

The Red Line station downtown
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro is closely monitoring data to determine how and where to ramp up transit service that was cut back because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some MetroExpress commuter routes were restored earlier this week, but the bulk of Cap Metro’s bus routes remain on a Sunday schedule.

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."

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.

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.

Vehicles drive over the railroad crossing in the Rosewood neighborhood of East Austin.
Julia Reihs / KUT

The Austin Transportation Department has identified several railroad crossings in need of safety improvements for cyclists and pedestrians. The findings come after a citywide review requested by the City Council in September based on recommendations from the city’s Pedestrian Advisory Council and Bicycle Advisory Council.

A red-painted "contraflow" lane on Guadalupe.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It’s been a few months since buses started going against the flow of traffic on a small stretch of Guadalupe Street near UT Austin. The lane the buses use is painted red to denote that it’s off-limits to cars. Painting the lane require federal approval – and it wasn’t easy to get.

Stephanie Tacy/KUT

From Texas Standard:

On average, 1,000 people move to Texas each day. And traditionally, that means more roads and more lanes to accommodate new drivers. But when it comes to roads, is bigger always better?

Someone in a wheelchair
Pixabay

From Texas Standard:

A new investigative report finds that each day, airlines lose or damage 29 wheelchairs or electric scooters used by people with disabilities. And new data released this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that airlines damaged or lost nearly 8,000 mobility aids during the first nine months of this year.

Eddie Gaspar for KUT

At 1 a.m. Oct. 11, 52-year-old Sylvia Figeroa lost control of her sedan in Lubbock. At 8 a.m. in Midland County, 44-year-old Gerardo Pérez couldn’t stop in time and collided with a semi towing a tractor. Later, at 11:20 a.m., Nedward Davidson, 62, crashed against a Freightliner truck southeast of Valley Mills. And at 2 p.m., Deputy Matt Jones of the Falls County Sheriff’s Office was struck by a car while helping another vehicle that had slid off the highway.

People walk down Rainey Street
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

On weekend nights, Rainey Street can be crowded with cars, scooters and pedestrians. Pretty soon, only one of those groups will be allowed on the street.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro isn't yet sure whether to favor light rail or rapid bus service as it expands its network, but an analysis shows adding trains would cost more, while buses would move fewer people.

Courtesy of TxDOT

Austin could be getting its first HOV lanes.

CTRMA

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Board is moving forward with plans to add managed toll lanes to part of U.S. Highway 183 in Northwest Austin. The CTRMA board voted Wednesday to authorize final negotiations with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to complete the $500 million project.

The project would add two tolled lanes in each direction for nine miles, from State Highway 45 to MoPac. Tolls on the new lanes would go up and down depending on demand, and would connect to the existing MoPac Express Lanes, which have the same variable tolling.

A MetroRapid bus
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The daily commute has become a bit crowded for some riders on Capital Metro’s MetroRapid buses. They report severe overcrowding at some points, with buses even passing stops because they’re too full to pick up any more passengers.

Cap Metro Pickup van
Samuel King / KUT

Capital Metro’s app-based Pickup service is expanding to four more sections of Austin over the next two weeks, after launching in Manor in June. It works like the pool function of other rideshare services. People can use the Pickup by Cap Metro app to request a ride from their home to anywhere within a certain zone.

A red bus-only contraflow lane
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro and the City of Austin are putting the finishing touches on improvements to the Lavaca Street and Guadalupe Street corridors, designed to reduce transit delays and ease congestion. The changes are highlighted by a new bright-red, bus-only contraflow lane on Guadalupe between 18th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Courtesy of ABIA

Travelers at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport have a new way to get from the Barbara Jordan Terminal to pick up rental cars or catch a rideshare: a driverless shuttle.

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