A new and exciting year is upon us, but for just a moment we’re looking back at some of the amazing things that happened last year, as Movability Austin gets ready to release its 2015 Annual Report. Here are some of the highlights:
- In January 2015, Movability hired the brilliant Eleni Harlan to come from London and train our staff, interns and a few people from the City and Capital Metro on how to use Motivational Interviewing (MI) for transportation conversations. As the NextCity article suggests, we didn’t know how useful MI would be when we started, but we now recognize it is one of the most important things we learned last year.
- Last year dozens of interns met thousands of commuters and had Commute Chats to help those who were interested in Transform your Trip. The person-to-person conversations that help people explore options – without a sales pitch – got more than four hundred people pledging to change their commutes.
- Movability was contacted in mid-March to help organize a Roundtable discussion with USDOT Secretary Foxx and key Austin leaders. By May, we had an amazing high-level discussion that included Mayor Adler, Tom Meredith, General Weber, and many more with big thoughts on the future of transportation. This event generated a follow up “Beyond Traffic” planning session and contributed to the recently announced $40 million Smart Cities Innovation grant for which Austin will compete.
- In 2014, we piloted a major change from the all volunteer “Work from Home Day” events to a Mobility Challenge aimed at businesses. Some pretty impressive employers became early adopters, and we worked out the kinks on how to provide the assistance they would need to “set them up for success.” Now for 2015-16 we have a waiting list of companies and the City of Austin just agreed to triple its investment in the program. We also have new partners – RideScout and TxDOT – joining the effort.
- Rocky Mountain Institute chose Austin as the city in which it would begin pilot projects and build a blueprint allowing a metropolitan area to transition from “just in case” transportation infrastructure to transportation that is a “just in time” service. Movability was one of the partners helping to convince RMI we were the right city, and we continue to work with them to develop business related pilots.
Our 2015 Annual Report will soon available on our website for the rest of the story.
Looking ahead for 2016:
- Movability is working with the City of Austin, RMI, Capital Metro and local businesses to help Austin figure out how to provide a form of “On-Demand” We are certain that if “on-demand” service is offered as conveniently as driving, takes roughly the same time, and costs 1/3 of the price, then many, many people will jump to use it.
- Capital Metro is beginning outreach and public discussions to rethink its services. That is a chance for the people who use transit and those who would like to use it to really dig in and tell the agency what you need to see improved for you to stay/become their customer. Connections2025.org is now live — your source for all project information and updates. You can weigh on on Movability’s survey to help us best represent your interests and priorities.
- The City of Austin and partners will compete nationally to become the City selected for the Smart City Challenge grant of $40 million. This would ignite – in some sustainable, not fossil fuel way – Austin’s efforts to prepare for autonomous vehicles, sharing/mobile technology, electrified fleets, and much more that can get us to “on demand” services.