Look At Those Californians

Austin loves to think of itself as a progressive city. And in many ways, it is. But we shouldn’t be resting on our laurels, especially when it comes to progressive mobility solutions. In that arena, a few California metro areas have us beat.Screen shot 2014-12-08 at 1.21.22 PM

In Silicon Valley, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is considering a 17.6-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) line that would connect San Jose, Mountain View, and Palo Alto. What sets this apart from a rapid bus, one of which already runs that route, is that it would include “all-door boarding and pre-paid fares, transit priority at traffic signals, train-style stations with real-time information, and one exclusive bus lane in each direction on the six-lane highway,” says CityLab.

And that means that no matter how bad the traffic, this bus is going to keep moving, perhaps even faster than the cars adjacent to it on the highway.

In San Francisco, a 2009 Commuter Benefits Ordinance got an upgrade this year. The original ordinance was adopted to require some employers to offer commuter benefits, thus encouraging commuters to walk, bike, take transit, and rideshare. As of 2014, businesses with a location in San Francisco with 20 or more employees are required to set up a Commuter Benefits Program and offer pre-tax transportation benefits, employer-paid transportation benefits, or employer-provided transportation.

Austin has two things in common with both areas: we compete with them for jobs and employees and we both have bad traffic congestion that is getting worse. So maybe it’s time to stop grumbling about Californians, and learn a thing or two from them.


image via Streetsblog.org

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