Implementing A New Way Forward

The most recent Great Austin Chamber of Commerce Screen shot 2015-04-01 at 4.27.23 PMLuncheon may have been on April 1, but Mayor Adler’s speech was serious, substantive and focused on implementation and new ways to solve challenges in Austin. No April fools joke!

He started by pointing to Austin’s ability to get on Top Ten lists. The Austin brand is about our creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, and it is also about the places we have inherited and the ones we have created that make Austin feel friendly, weird, vibrant, and open to just trying new things.

Companies and people move to Austin because of the Austin quality of life we offer.

But we’re also featured on some less-than-desirable Top Ten lists – like traffic congestion. The Mayor acknowledged that mobility is one of our big challenges, and he and his office are focused on quickly implementing solutions. In his words:

“Imagine if we could have the same relief from traffic we get for every state holiday when 17,000 workers stay home.”

The Mayor committed to recruiting 15 employers in our two most congested areas (Downtown and Capital of Texas Highway), asking them to pledge to reduce by 20 percent the number of their employees that commute by driving alone during rush hours. This could mean 17,000 fewer people and cars commuting in to and from those places every day.

Mayor Adler announced that City Manager Ott had already agreed to accept the challenge and get 20 percent of the City’s 10,000 employees to use options other than driving alone. He also mentioned that Silicon Labs, HomeAway, Jackson Walker LLP, and Seton Healthcare Family had just agreed to sign the pledge, joining more than 10 others who pledged in 2014.

Employers can be part of the solution with this pledge, and this approach makes sense for everyone:

Screen shot 2015-04-01 at 4.27.39 PMCity and transportation agencies: Reducing congestion during rush hours (caused mostly by workers commuting with one person in one car) can also make building very expensive infrastructure improvements (new roads, transit, etc.) work better.

Employers: Investing in mobility options is a great strategy to help with retention, recruitment, even lower facilities costs.

Commuters win all around: Those who find commuting a soul crushing experience get options that give them time back to use for more enjoyable, productive, relaxing activities. Those who still must drive a car may share their car with pleasant co-workers or maybe drive earlier or later to miss traffic. And traffic congestion gets better for everyone.

Movability Austin applauds Mayor Adler for encouraging Austin to experiment and see if we can all make this happen. Movability Austin, The Thrival Company, and the Austin Chamber stand ready to help the City give this experiment the best possible opportunity for success.

Is your company ready to take the pledge? Find out more about the 20-20 Mobility Solutions Initiative.

 

 

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