2014 was an exciting year for mobility, and with headline-dominating items like the rail bond election it’s easy to forget just how much actually happened. We at Movability have been walking back through the year (no pun intended) and reminding ourselves just how much happened. Here are some of the highlights:
- Uber and Lyft came to town. Their reputation preceded them, and travelers who had used both services in other cities were eager to see them take root here. Because both of these are app-based services that connect people needing a ride with people willing to provide rides, their arrival has disrupted both regular taxi services and city ordinances regulating “pay for ride” services. Council approved a temporary arrangement, yet specifics on how Uber and Lyft will operate long-term are still far from clear.
- Austin B-cycle celebrated its first anniversary. It’s hard to express how much mobility improved when this bikeshare organization began allowing Austinites to grab a bicycle on the street, ride it a few blocks to a destination, and return it worry-free. We predict that as B-cycle increases the number of bikes and stations around Austin, this will have a big impact on mobility in the central city.
- Car2Go North America acquired the Austin-based RideScout app to develop the most advanced network of mobility companies helping people get around easier, faster and smarter. RideScout staff is partnering with other cities, other service providers, and other apps to truly provide an idiot-proof way to see all your travel options and then do the selecting, purchasing, and transiting all from one place.
- Capital Metro started a huge new service in MetroRapid, completely revamped its MetroRideshare (vanpools) by contracting with V-rides, and began MetroWorks services specifically to support businesses and employees.
- Mobility Week invited businesses and their employees to become part of the solution to the transportation problems we all know are strangling Austin. Twenty employers and thousands of employees tried new mobility options, and that is the start to something very big. Traffic is mostly a commuter problem. So traffic can only really be improved as more commuters (employees) and their employers work together to come in earlier or later, to telework, and to support those who want to use transit, carpool or bike.
- Project Connect made history as the first time ever that all transportation agencies in the region have discussed a broad partnership to build and operate new high capacity transit services like rail, rapid bus, park & ride, commuter buses, and more. That partnership then worked with local governments to identify new and specific “high capacity transit” improvements for an entire system. Although voters didn’t approve the proposed light rail, the conversations continue.
And just a few impressive statistics from our mobility partners:
- 9,349 Carpool Trips: 2,000 Austinites used the Carma carpool app to arrange these rides, saving 141,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and 7,230 gallons of gas.
- 4,000 Fewer Cars on the Road Every Day: Just from Austinites living near the downtown area, and choosing to walk or ride a bike to work.
- Two New Trips Starting Almost Every Minute: Car2Go Austin has 375 vehicles with more than 51,000 registered members making approximately 960,000 trips last year.
- From Two to 69: Austin-based RideScout expanded exponentially, making it easier for residents in 69 North American cities to find rides from more than 300 companies and agencies.
- Eliminating The Need For 675 Personal Vehicles: With 45 vehicles in its Austin fleet, ZipCar celebrates its 15th anniversary this month. Worldwide, a ZipCar is reserved every six seconds by more than 900,000 members.
- 59,635 People Taking 157,411 Trips: In year one, Austin B-cycle signed up more than 59,000 people and 157,411 trips is an average of 431 trips every day, with at least 100 of those replacing a car trip.
- 33 Million Boardings for Capital Metro‘s Transit Options: That’s a big number! Here are some breakouts: 9, 539 weekday riders on MetroRapid; 178 vanpools carried 1,256 people to work with 417,424 trips, 25 companies joined MetroWorks to get transit pass discounts, and 93,359 downloads of Capital Metro’s mobile app.