This past May, members of Livable Streets and the Somerville Biking Committee pitted different modes of transportation against one another in a race to get through the notorious Boston rush hour traffic. The Rush Hour Race challenged a cyclist, a runner, an inline skater, a driver in a personal vehicle, and a T rider (“T” is a short acronym for the Boston public transit system), to race one another to see which mode would be the fastest and most efficient way to get through downtown traffic. The “course” that they run is from Davis Square in Somerville to Boston South Station, which is about 5 miles; roughly like going from Guadalupe and 51st to downtown Austin or Ben White and Lamar to downtown for you folks South of the river.
A Similar Setting, but a Different Problem.
Why is this relevant to Austin? Boston actually has a smaller population than Austin, with Austin’s 820,600 residents versus Boston’s 625, 000. Yet, Boston already has a well-developed public transportation infrastructure with a population that is fairly consistent. Austin, by contrast, has new people moving to it at a rate of about 70 people per day, congesting our roads and increasing ridership exponentially. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Austin was ranked number 3 in the nation for worst traffic, according to a 2011 Statesman article. That ranking may seem, to many, like just another abstract frustration in the face of real traffic issues.
What To Do, What To Do?
Today, Capital Metro and the City are moving along nicely with the installation of MetroRapid and rolling out planning for other transit/rail expansions to focus some of the growth we have coming (see Transit-Oriented), but we still face real traffic issues here in Austin.
We face the similarly inevitable question that Boston faces,“What is the best way to get in and out of downtown?” Walking, biking, taking the bus, or perhaps it’s still a personal vehicle? This is a serious question. This is why Movability was created.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun. Right?
Join Us And Compete!
Movability is organizing Austin’s first Rush Hour Race through downtown traffic. We are seeking sponsors, racers, volunteers, route proposals, and interesting modes of transportation to compete. If you would like to be a part of this epic challenge, to see who wins in a race against time and traffic, please submit your interest to Reese@movabilityaustin.org
Still not convinced? Watch the video: Boston Rush Hour Race