Mayor’s Mobility Luncheon and Big Mobility News

More than 130 executives and leaders from over 30 Central Texas employers gathered on October 30 for the third annual Mayor’s Mobility Luncheon, hosted by Movability and the Austin Chamber of Commerce. The event honored the 20 employers that participated in the 2017 Mobility Challenge and gave both private and public leaders a chance to discuss the economic and community benefits of taking the Mobility Challenge pledge.

Lone Star Circle of Care’s CEO Rhonda Mundhenk talked about the benefits of developing a mobility plan through the Mobility Challenge – including the fact that it’s free to Mobility Challenge pledges. “Joining the Mobility Challenge makes good business sense, and supports business goals and objectives,” Mundhenk said.

“If we do nothing, by 2035 every major roadway in Austin will be as congested as I-35,” said Mayor Steve Adler at the event, discussing the importance of employers helping to shift travel habits.

I-35 got a lot of attention later that day too, as State Senator Kirk Watson announced a plan state and local officials and organizations have been working on to remove the upper decks on I-35 and add managed lanes for a 33-mile stretch of highway from Round Rock to Buda. Far from being another highway expansion project that simply adds more capacity for single occupant vehicles, the Capital Express project would enable transit to travel quickly through the region’s major corridor.

“We only get one shot to rebuild and improve I-35 through downtown Austin, so we have to do as much as is reasonable within the existing footprint to enhance mobility and lower it,” said Watson.

Adding managed lanes helps the region embrace a truly multi-modal approach to transportation. As with the MoPac managed lanes, the new I-35 lanes would allow vehicles from rapid buses to ridesharing vehicles travel for free, giving commuters a better option than sitting in the congested general purpose lanes. It also makes transit a more attractive option to more commuters, since transit vehicles won’t be stuck in the same traffic as everyone else. And if just one in five commuters chooses an option like transit or ridesharing, the main lanes on I-35 will also enjoy the benefits of fewer single occupant cars jamming those lanes, and traffic will actually flow.

We at Movability are very happy to see transportation demand management (TDM) included in long-range infrastructure planning!

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