UPDATED, April 15, 2019: The Austin, TX City Council unanimously approved the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan (ASMP) on Thursday, marking the city's first comprehensive transportation plan. The adopted plan includes the draft of the plan as well as staff-recommended amendments.
Robert Spillar, Austin's transportation director, said in a statement that the plan is a "major milestone for Austin's mobility portfolio," noting it will address "the multimodal needs of our community" and offer more affordable opportunities to get around the city.
- Austin, TX has released the final draft of its first comprehensive multimodal transportation plan, dubbed the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan (ASMP). The more than 300-page plan presents policies and actions for the next 20 years that will amend the transportation goals laid out in the Imagine Austin vision.
- ASMP identifies eight goals including innovation, sustainability and reducing commuter delays. An overarching goal is to reduce single-occupancy vehicle use, and especially to reduce the number of commuters who drive alone to work from about 74% now to 50% by 2039.
- The public is invited to share feedback with leaders at the various board and commission meetings where the ASMP will be examined in the coming weeks, and the Austin City Council is expected to vote on the ASMP on April 28.
Austin has been a leader in the emerging new mobility space, particularly as a city where the dockless e-scooter trend has exploded — so much so that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with the city for its first ever epidemiological study on dockless scooters. In January, Austin also became the first U.S. city named for a launch of a sit-down scooter-sharing service.
Despite the progress with scooters, Austin is still considered a car-centric city with high levels of traffic congestion. Leaders hope to change that with the ASMP and the focus on expanding multimodal mobility. The goal to reduce the number of commuters who drive to work alone reflects that desire for change.
It takes a lot of work to change citizens' minds about cars and their transportation habits, but Austin is not the first city to take on such a task. Atlanta, another heavily car-centric city without a robust transit system, released a long-term transportation plan last year to address the city's immediate transportation needs and account for long-term regional growth. Like Austin's plan, Atlanta's includes elements to get people out of their cars and onto transit options, which requires expanding the existing system and improving service.
Austin is a significant conference and event hub — the annual South by Southwest conference begins this week — and the influx of visitors for these events further strains its transportation network. Like Atlanta's transportation plan, Austin's recognizes the need to accommodate extra visitors and residents as the city grows. And like Philadelphia, which also recently released a strategic transportation plan, the ASMP highlights the need for safe and affordable transportation options and equal mobility opportunities for citizens across the city.