Austin Transportation launches new website to provide resources

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UT Students Ashley Pham, Christine Pham and Koger Darden board the 801 MetroRapid bus from the UT/Dean Keaton stop on Sunday, April 1, 2018.

Photo Credit: Joshua Guenther | Daily Texan Staff

The Austin Transportation Department launched a new website last week to help people easily access sustainable transportation resources.

The new website, GetThereATX.com, compiles information about various Austin transportation services, such as Capital Metro, carpool apps and dockless scooters, into one location for Austin residents and visitors to find. The website lists trail maps, rules for conduct on scooters and links to CapMetro’s trip planning app, among other things.

Jacob Barrett, a public information specialist for the Austin Transportation Department, said they created the website to consolidate information about different means of transportation into one location to educate people on how to use them. He said along with giving tips on using nonpublic transportation options such as bikes and dockless scooters, which are often cheaper than cars, the website will help people understand CapMetro’s buses and railway schedules. 

“One challenge that we really wanted to address … was to provide people (a) one-stop shop,” Barrett said. “The mission of (the Austin Transportation Department) is to get everyone around the city effectively (and) cheaply. GetThereATX is another resource that provides both.”

Julie Anderson, the environmental program coordinator for the department, said the website will give out travel information regarding big events, such as football games and Austin City Limits Music Festival, and will adjust according to user feedback. Some of this feedback will include suggestions from disability advocates to make sure people with disabilities have plenty of options to effectively move around the city, Anderson said.

“The site itself is meant to be very dynamic,” Anderson said. “We’ll always be making changes to it because we want it to be an updated, current resource for people.”

Lisa Kay Pfannenstiel, executive director of the transportation management association Movability, said her organization collaborated with the Austin Transportation Department to create the new website to solve challenges such as traffic congestion, which is partially caused by Austin’s increasing population. Pfannenstiel said while experts expect the current one million resident population to double by 2040, the highway capacity will only increase by 15%. She said people can relieve this burden on Austin roads by carpooling, changing their work hours, and riding bikes and scooters.

“It’s already really hard to get around, and if you add that many more people, it’s only going to get worse,” Pfannenstiel said. “We have to work together collaboratively with lots of different stakeholders to start thinking about moving people instead of moving cars and trucks.”

Biochemistry sophomore Eunice Kanyongo said issues such as heavy traffic, the risk of being hit by scooters and cars, and the steep inclines of Austin have negatively impacted her experience getting around the city and have forced her to only go out on weekends to buy supplies. She said she would appreciate and use a website such as GetThereATX to get ahead of some of those challenges, and her freshman friends would appreciate solutions to issues such as confusing bus schedules.

“It’s really hard, especially when you don’t have a car or you’re walking around campus,” Kanyongo said. “I’ve definitely almost been hit by cars and … I have been hit by (a Lime scooter). It’d be nice to have different options.”