Capital Metro Announces Project Connect

- Capital Metro is looking to take another crack at the traffic problem plaguing Austin.

Monday, they announced their plan for the future for not just Austin but, Central Texas, called Project Connect. 

Capital Metro wants to take a more modern approach when it comes to mass transit and reducing the number of cars on the road while moving more people.

The main focus was on a new mode of transportation which is a mix between bus and light rail transit. 

“With advances in technologies things have changed a lot. One question was how do we get all the benefits of light rail like capacity but the cost of a bus,” said Randy Clarke the capital metro president and CEO.

Its called autonomous electric transit, they'll get their own designated lane on the road. 

“This is a way maybe to get a light rail system built on rubber tires,” said Clarke.

The current map of the plans show these transit vehicles will travel along corridors connecting places like the airport, the Domain, William Cannon, the expo center, and other places to downtown. 

“We can put 40 people 50 people on a bus, one person in one car is taking up the same amount of space so the idea is how do you make geometry work best, how do you move the most people through that corridor, not vehicles but people,” said Clarke.

Nothing is set in stone yet, Clarke said for the next 18 months they will reach out to the community for feedback. 

“It’s about getting the corridors first, the dedicated space, working with the city on that then its doing the engineering then it's working with the community,” said Clarke.

This new transit system wasn't the only plan announced Monday. Clarke also talked about the addition of another rail line. 

“On the project connect vision map you'll see there is a line out to manor, Elgin so that will be part of the design,” said Clarke.

Also included in project connect, connecting nearby cities to Austin by adding bus stops. 

“We already run some of those successfully now on our Mo Pac Express Lane the idea is can we have other areas that can feed in express busses,” said Clarke.

So far a cost for this plan has yet to be released. During these next 18 months’ time they will figure out the cost, where to get the funds, and the quickest way they can get it up and running.

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