Transformative Changes in Transportation

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Photo via Community Impact 

The City of Austin announced this week that it is entering into a partnership with the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and the City of Denver to study and improve transportation in Austin. RMI, a Colorado-based nonprofit, will bring several researchers to Austin, and will work with the City, other transportation agencies, as well as interested businesses and civic organizations to identify state-of-the-art solutions to traffic congestion. RMI will help Austin develop a blueprint that can transforms transportation into an “on demand” service.

That means looking beyond road building to leverage new information and vehicle technologies coming online as well as new private sector services to give people cheap, reliable, and convenient travel options every time they need it.

“Austin is growing fast and we are at a crossroads,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said. “To make progress on our city’s mobility challenges, we need an ‘all of the above’ approach—that means embracing innovative solutions. We’ve had an explosion of new technology for car-, ride-, and bike sharing, transportation apps, web capability, and more, none of which were in place five to ten years ago.”

There are already disruptions – like Uber/Lyft or B-Cycle – to that system that are reshaping the way we use our transportation network, and all signs point to even more transportation transformations as experimental technologies like autonomous vehicles start to hit the roads.

Transformed transportation is a service, delivering the ability to get you where you need to go when you need to get there. When you need to haul things, you can get a truck. When just you need to get to work, that service can be provided as well.

“This new transportation service can offer you a substantial savings, costing say $.17 per mile instead of the $.54 you now pay – AND it’s reliable AND it’s roughly as convenient as it is to get in your car,” say Jeruld Weiland, managing director of RMI.

“We can’t do it for you,” Weiland continues, “but we can bring international expertise, system thinking, and the ability to bring a lot of new voices into the conversations to help Austin decide how this transformation can occur for your community.”

RMI chose Austin as their pilot city for this project because of its strength as an education and technology center, its entrepreneurial culture, and its collaborative government.

One Response to Transformative Changes in Transportation

  1. Brianna says:

    Wahoo! Congrats to Glen and Alex for helping Austin get the partnership. I’m excited to hear more news about this.