Our Movability interns have talked to almost a thousand downtown commuters this summer, and they’ve learned a few things! Here are their biggest take-aways from the internship – and how their experience can help you.
Did you try any options for the first time this summer?
Sara: Since working at Movability Austin, I’ve started using the bus on a regular basis! I take my local route so I can avoid parking downtown and I love it. It’s convenient, fast, and relaxing. The bus drivers know me and will actually hold the bus if I’m running toward it.
Cynthia: I tried Austin B-Cycle for the first time this summer. The process was simple and there are many stations in close proximity downtown. Maybe next time I won’t attempt to ride with a very large and heavy purse in the front basket, but hindsight is 20/20. Overall, it was very enjoyable and I would do it again.
What have you learned from talking to commuters?
Jessa: I noticed that the people who seem the happiest and most relaxed are the ones who already use options!
Movability summer 2015 interns
Ernesto: People are often so busy and focused on their own lives that they forget to see what is around them. That was a challenge in stopping people on the street and talking with them about their commutes.
Cynthia: A lot of people who wanted to try something new had never used anything other than their car before. I’m glad I was able to help them experiment.
What are the most frequent questions or concerns you hear about mobility options?
Tara: I frequently hear that Austin has no commute options. This is always surprising to me! Once I ask for them to elaborate, the person has a moment of silence in order to actually think about their answer. Most of the time, they end up responding that there are options, they just don’t know how they would work for them. Once I help them really think through their options, a lot of people discover they do have choices. I hope I’ve helped people shift that paradigm of “there are no options.”
Preston: People are so afraid of emergencies that rarely or never happen! Most times, all people really need is a backup plan just in case.
Amber: So many people I talked with would start dreaming up apps that could help them with transportation. They would look wistfully into the distance while saying “I wish there was an app that…” Almost every time, I would smile and say, “Guess what, there is! Someone already made that!” Once people know that they can find easy carpool matches using Carma, or find out exactly where a bus is located in real time using the Capital Metro app, they usually got excited to try it out.
What is your best advice for someone who wants to change their commute?
Amber: Anyone who wants to change their commute has to be open to imagining their day a little differently. There are days that won’t be good, no matter which option you choose. But if you are realistic, weigh all of the positives and negatives, and think about your own priorities, then you actually can choose mobility that will make you happier and healthier more often.
Sara: I would advise my friends to pick out one day next week and try it! Make a pledge to yourself and don’t put it off.
Tara: After trying out a new option for the first time, try to follow through for as long as possible. So many people are discouraged by one bad experience, but if everyone went through life with that same mentality then so many things would never be accomplished. It takes more than a few tries to troubleshoot and understand exactly how different commute options actually work for your lifestyle.
Diego: Think of your commute as something different. Use this time to relax before you go to work. Do not stress yourself; this should be a moment for you to enjoy!