Transportation

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.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

If it’s a weekend, it likely means drivers in North Austin have to navigate around road construction. This time, it's a closure of northbound U.S. 183 at I-35 from Friday at 9 p.m. through Monday at 5 a.m.

Capital Metro CEO Randy Clarke
Michael Minasi for KUT

Capital Metro CEO Randy Clarke said Wednesday an increase in ridership in the system is a sign its Cap Remap program is working. Cap Metro revamped its entire bus system starting in June 2018, eliminating some routes while adding higher frequency service on other routes.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority already knows a lot about who isn't paying tolls on its roadways and will soon deploy more tools and resources to track drivers.

Traffic on the double-decker portion of I-35 through downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Texas Transportation Commission on Thursday voted to adopt a goal of reducing traffic fatalities on the state's roadways by half by the year 2035 — and reducing them to zero by the year 2050. 

Texas Department of Transportation

Last week, the Austin City Council voted to back the Green New Deal, a national plan to tackle climate change that would overhaul the U.S. economy and energy sector. It was a big gesture from a city that prides itself on its environmental leadership. But, critics say, that gesture was undercut by a vote some local leaders took earlier that week – one that would drastically expand Interstate 35.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The Austin Transportation Department will roll out bus- and bike-minded improvements on Lavaca and Guadalupe streets, with construction starting next month.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council has adopted a long-term transportation plan – its first since 1995. It's a 337-page document, so there's a lot to unpack.

The Austin Strategic Mobility Plan is meant to cement how Austin's streets are designed and how both cars and buses and pedestrians (and scooters and maybe automated cars) occupy them.

Reconnect Austin

"Cut and cap" – the idea of burying I-35 in the downtown corridor and paving over that chasm to create greenspaces or mixed-use development – is no longer in the rearview mirror.

Travelers flying out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport tried to bring 93 guns onto flights in 2018, according to the Transportation Security Administration's annual tally.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Like a mirage on a sun-beaten West Texas highway, the future of autonomous vehicles in Texas isn't altogether clear. A new state effort hopes to remedy that.  

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The city says it's working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study dockless scooter-related injuries and incidents in Austin – a first for the nation's public health institute.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Dockless electric scooters have been for rent on Austin streets legally since May. Love them or hate them, they present some interesting legal questions for city officials, police and insurance companies.


Pavel Mezihorak for KUT

Local money alone is not enough to improve public transit and ease traffic congestion in the region, Capital Metro CEO Randy Clarke said at a board of directors meeting Monday.

For years, the region’s transit agency has been working to develop Project Connect, a plan to build a transit network that can move more people faster. Austin City Council members joined the Cap Metro board to explore how to pay for it.

Hyperloop One

Texas’ Hyperloop dreams are no longer confined to a pipe.

Officials in North Texas plan on putting some money behind an environmental impact study of a 700-mph train between Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington. That project, ideally, would later expand to a network that would include Austin, as well.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Jumping the gun works, it seems.

While city staff were devising a pilot program to govern dockless bikes and scooters, expecting to bring a proposal to council members in June, two companies dropped their electric scooters throughout the city. Now the Austin Transportation Department has proposed fast-tracking approval of the pilot program.

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