CTR Collaborates with the City of Austin
We’ve had some inspiring collaboration with the City of Austin in the last year. Two highlights include the Better Streets Week lunch event that highlighted solutions for our mobility future and, even more exciting, our contribution to the city’s proposal entered for the USDOT’s Smart City Challenge. The USDOT has pledged up to $40 million to one city that will define the concept of a “Smart City” and become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies—self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors—into their transportation network. Austin is one of seven cities named finalists in this competition (out of 78 that applied). Watch the city’s pitch video. CTR’s proposed role is to create and host a Data Rodeo. The Data Rodeo will be a single point of access for regional transportation data and analytics. This two-way open data sharing portal will improve how transportation providers, including businesses and government entities, offer effective mobility. The city is drawing on other UT resources as well, such as the Austin Technology Incubator (UT’s multidisciplinary tech startup incubator), and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, who would offer advice on how to ensure advances in transportation technology and systems are accessible to all city residents. The city’s proposal represents a regional effort, partnering entities such as CTR, TxDOT, Cap Metro, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the Southwest Research Institute, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Travis County, and various private companies.
The Better Streets Week lunch attracted attendees from many of these organizations. Better Streets Week was designed to bring to the community top speakers on local transportation issues and included over a dozen free talks, tours, and social events. Texas State Representative Celia Israel moderated the presentations. Researchers from UT Austin, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and Texas State University used a brisk presentation format to translate research findings into layman’s language; each seven-minute talk concluded with three minutes for Q&A and discussion. You can view the entire event here or check out this article for links to the various presentations.
We will continue to serve as a resource for the city, as the Austin City Council, at its February 25 meeting, approved a $2.5 million, five-year agreement between the Austin Transportation Department and CTR for research and analysis services related to mobility issues. This agreement allows the Austin Transportation Department to consult with CTR and use our expertise for specific, short-term issues as needed. Find out more details.