Project Connect

Project Connect is a transit expansion program for the city of Austin. As part of the program there are 3 light rail lines, 7 new high frequency bus routes, enhancement of an existing commuter rail line and a new commuter rail line, 8 new commuter bus routes, 24 new park & rides, enhancements to existing transit and paratransit service, and more.

Stage of the project

Idea

Starting Up

Implementation

Realised

The results of the project so far

The program system plan has been adopted and governance and funding measures are being developed. A potential public vote for financing is anticipated for this November. Support is strong but there are still many hurdles to clear on the program. We will continue to advance the engineering and project development through the remainder of the year and beyond.

What are specific, distinctive, strong elements in this project?

Making sure that the data drives the conversation and that the technical is kept separate from the political. Being transparent with the public about the benefits as well as some of the uncomfortable decisions that need to be made. Listening to public input carefully and finding ways to incorporate it into the process. Creating a system of projects with a variety of services that provide something for everyone.

Which specific lessons, do's and don'ts would you like to share? What would be suggestions for others when preparing or implementing the project in their own city?

Development of the plan took into account previous failed transit efforts in order to evaluate all the projects under the same criteria and timeline to move forward the strongest projects. Robust community engagement including pivoting to a virtual platform for town hall meetings. Moving forward a variety of projects simultaneously to show more progress on the program.

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