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.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Interstate Highway 35 is many things to many people. It is a vital thoroughfare for commerce and shipping. It is also an economic and social barrier through much of Austin. And nearly from its construction, it has been a source of frustration for drivers stuck in its traffic. I-35 has inspired a number of questions and even legends about its design and those who made it.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez

Bike Austin is offering free cycling classes to the public starting next week, thanks to a new partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation.

Pavel Mezihorak for KUT

The Capital Metro Board of Directors has chosen Randy Clarke to replace Linda Watson as its next president and CEO.

Clarke comes to Cap Metro from the American Public Transportation Association, where he had been vice president of operations and member services since May 2016. Before that, he was director of security for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Central Texas until 7 p.m. Patchy drizzle is creating slick spots on roadways. The Austin-Travis County Traffic Report Page showed dozens of incidents as of 6 p.m.

Texas Advanced Computing Center

A new partnership between UT-Austin and the city plans to automate the data-gathering process for traffic studies, while making the results immediately available.

In theory, it's simple: Take the video from the city's 360 traffic cameras and make a computer count all the bikes and buses and pedestrians and cars on a given roadway.

In reality, it's not that simple.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The City of Austin has unveiled its pitch to revamp Guadalupe Street near UT campus in a plan that favors bike- and bus-minded improvements.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Traffic is terrible.

City and state officials are really good at counting cars to see how terrible traffic is and how it got that way, but that sort of data collection doesn’t exist for bike and pedestrian traffic. New research hopes to change that.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Priscilla Jove, 19, sat cross-legged on a bench at a bus stop on the corner of West Oltorf Street and South Lamar Boulevard. A student at Austin Community College, Jove was heading to a biology study session. She said she’s not just curious about the human body, but also human behavior, and that's one reason she rides the bus.

“All different sorts of people ride the bus,” she said. “It’s a great way to learn about them, to see how they behave, how they interact with other people.”

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Sometimes, people are the worst. If you want proof of that, sit in traffic.

Pavel Mezihorak for KUT

The Capital Metro board has approved a major overhaul of its bus system, affecting more than half of all routes in the area. The vote was 6 to 2.

While some buses will run more often, other routes will be eliminated. The changes will go into effect June 3. 

City of Austin

The city has eyes all over Austin – traffic cameras that monitor vehicles and events – and you can peer through these cameras to check out what's happening around town.

Paul Cochrum/Flickr

Federal regulators are calling for stricter requirements to fly hot air balloons after a crash near Lockhart last year that killed all 16 people aboard.

The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday released findings and recommendations of its investigation into the July 30 accident in which a balloon operated by the Heart of Texas Balloon Ride company struck high-voltage power lines about 30 miles south of Austin.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Car2go is dropping the signature blue and white, logoed Smart cars from its fleet. Customers in Austin will be able to rent only Mercedes-Benz cars and SUVs when using the service in December.

Austin is one step closer to being at the center of the world's first Hyperloop transportation system.

The technology — the brainchild of SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk — is envisioned as passenger pods traveling at speeds up to 700 miles per hour through a low-pressure tube. So far, only a short test track has been constructed.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

B-cycle, Austin’s bike-share system, recently added three new stations as part of an 18-station expansion over the next 18 months. All the new stations will be close to or in downtown, adding to the company’s existing 51 docks.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Anyone who has driven or taken a bus down Guadalupe Street near UT-Austin knows how bumpy the ride can be.

Though the Drag was repaved just a few years ago, its bus lanes are already marred with potholes. Now, the city has begun making repairs to those lanes.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Bobak Tehrany and I meet in the parking garage at the Chase Building downtown. He works with the engineering consulting company Stantec, whose clients include the Texas Department of Transportation. It’s been a long day, and he’s ready to make the commute home.

“You know, it’s funny because you hear people calling it SlowPac all the time,” he says.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Capital Metro is moving ahead with plans to build a signature station at the MetroRail stop near the Austin Convention Center. The $22 million project will include upgrades to shade passengers waiting at the Fourth Street commuter train stop. 

That got us wondering about the 2,649 CapMetro bus stops that may not be getting this kind of attention. Anyone who has ever waited for the bus in the summer knows it can be a torturous experience. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

There is plenty of parking in downtown Austin, but often those spaces aren’t available, according to a parking study released Wednesday by the nonprofit Downtown Austin Alliance. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Austin is in the process of adopting several plans that will guide the future of development and transportation in the region. The city revealed a new guide Tuesday for the future of street design.

KUT

U.S. Department of Justice officials talked to city staff last week about including Austin in a criminal investigation of Uber.   

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

For years the electric car company Tesla has tried to change the way people are allowed to buy cars in Texas. The company wants make it legal for consumers to cut out the middleman and buy cars directly from the manufacturer, a way of car shopping that’s already been adopted in many other states. 

Monday, the Austin Department of Transportation released the winners for its contest to write the best caption for dynamic message signs – those blinking road signs along Austin's roads that warn of impending (or ongoing) construction, lane merges and general roadway shenanigans. 

In the end, only 15 were given the satisfaction of having their work seen by throngs of gridlock-bound Austinites, but there were plenty more submissions – 341, to be exact. Most of them were objectively not great, but there were some real gems in there, as well.

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

Residents of the Rainey Street neighborhood struck a deal last year with a developer looking to build new condos in the area. It agreed to conduct a comprehensive traffic study, determining what the most pressing transportation needs are and how they could be affected by new development.

Pavel Mezihorak for KUT

The Capital Metro board of directors on Monday unanimously approved a plan to overhaul its transit service. Cap Metro says Connections 2025 is designed to improve rider experience by creating a 24/7 transit system and expanding service.  

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

If you’ve ever tried to park in downtown Austin, you’ve probably found yourself circling the streets a few times before finding a spot. The city is exploring changes to make more parking available during peak traffic time – but that could mean cutting back on free parking hours.

Photo Illustration by Andrew Weber, Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Austin’s got a checkered past when it comes to digital road signs. The blinking roadway signs have been hacked a few times in the past to warn of zombies, to taunt the OU Sooners and to even pay tribute to the meme-launching death of Harambe. But the City of Austin Transportation Department has decided to harness that creative energy for good, by allowing anyone to submit safe-for-work language for road signs starting today.

Texas Transportation Institute

Researchers from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute want to know more about Austinites' experiences with ride-hailing companies before and after Uber and Lyft left town.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

Over the summer, the Austin City Council took a hard stance on criminal background checks for taxi drivers, eventually expanding them from a statewide check to a national one. But last week, council members reversed course on that decision.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Testimony included talk of a birthday.

“Ben turned 10 on Monday at a rehabilitation facility in Dallas,” Kathy Sokolic told members of the City Council Mobility Committee on Wednesday. As we’ve chronicled before, a car hit Sokolic’s nephew, Ben, outside his home in the Mueller neighborhood in September. He survived, but his injuries have left him unable to speak or walk.

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