Transportation Profiles


“I’m working on reducing carbon emissions via transportation so it was important to me to “walk the talk” – or dare we say “cycle the talk” or “carshare the talk?” In my pursuit with Rocky Mountain Institute to transform mobility away from car ownership to shared, electric, autonomous mobility services, in a city designed for it, I decided to get rid of my car in February of 2017. I had a glorious commute biking along the Lady Bird Lake Trail and the boardwalk from my apartment on East Riverside to my workplace on Barton Springs Rd. I recently moved and now have to bike on the roads. I love it less than the trail but I enjoy getting in a little bit of exercise every day. It makes for a healthier lifestyle. Roads can be unsafe because car drivers can be careless and drive straight into bike lanes without checking for bikers, so I recommend lots of lights. My tip for people who want to have smarter commutes is to not be fearful of the Texas summer; bike in athletic clothes and change in the office, and supplement biking with the bus and carshare to get you to those meetings that you don’t want to arrive to as a sweaty mess. Oh, and did I mention how much money you save?!”


“I started using the bus and biking regularly when I worked at the Capitol. It was a straight shot from my house on the Eastside, and I just didn’t want to circle looking for parking and hike across the Capitol grounds. I ride my bike to work three days a week and drive twice a week. No matter how I get to the office, once I’m there I try to book all my meetings on the Eastside or Downtown, using the #17 or #4 bus. Sometimes I have to hop on a MetroRapid to visit UT or St. Edward’s and sometimes I have a trip way out in the suburbs that requires a car, but I limit my driving meetings to Mondays and Fridays. I appreciate the fresh air and exercise when riding my bike on the Boggy Creek Greenbelt. When I’m taking the bus to and from meetings, I like being able to stay up-to-speed on my email and social media, instead of stuck behind the wheel of a car.”





Julie takes the bus to work, and enjoys having the extra time to read during her commute. She started using transit when she was a college student, and the habit stuck!

“I also prefer having time to relax so I don’t arrive at my destination feeling stressed out by typical traffic-related nonsense. I grew up in a small town and moved away to attend college in Portland, Oregon. For the first time in my life, I met people my own age who didn’t have a driver’s license; they simply didn’t need one to get around. I was amazed by the robust public transit system in Portland and how using it improved my quality of life  – I’ve been a huge fan of public transportation ever since.”



Alex Houston is Movability’s marketing and events intern, and she is also a new bus rider. Despite a rocky start on her first day of bus riding with a mistaken bus route and missing a planned bus, Alex tried again the next day and has now mastered the system. Her lesson to newbie bus riders: “The Transit app is very helpful, especially when you are unfamiliar with the route.”


“I commute via bicycle from almost Highway 71 (near the Broken Spoke) to Barton Springs Road on a combination of South Lamar, Mary Street, and Bouldin Ave. I began bike commuting daily in grad school because it was a lot easier than dealing with a car, and I did not want to stop once I moved to Austin. I even decided where to live based on how my bike ride to and from work would be. Plus, I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint. I really enjoy the downhill part of it in the morning on my way to work (it’s not quite as fun on the way home, but it is a good workout). Plus the fact that I am not sitting in all the surrounding traffic or producing any emissions where it is all too easy to do so. I also arrive to work more awake and ready for the day since I’ve gotten my blood pumping a bit. And it is SO FUN!”

Garrett’s advice to would-be bike commuters is:

1.       Don’t be intimidated or discouraged if you don’t have “cool” gear or a flashy bike to ride – use whatever is comfortable as long as it is safe.

2.       Be safe and visible. Wear a helmet, have lights front and rear (that flash), check your brakes and tire pressure before you leave.

3.       Be predictable (use hand signals and do not make sudden moves).

4.       Never assume a motorist has seen you – ride with your “head on a swivel.” Always be prepared to take action.

5.       Have an awesome time riding your bike and reducing your carbon footprint!!


“I began working downtown six months ago. I hopped on the MetroRail at Lakeline and it was always a relaxing ride to the downtown station and back home after work. It was a great chance to catch up on reading or plan my day. My walk to work from the downtown station was a short 8-10 minutes and something I really enjoyed as I love being outside! The rail was even more fun on those days I looked out and saw traffic at a standstill on the expressway.

“I recently moved closer to downtown so I could walk and/or bike to work. Living and working downtown is amazing! I am still in “tourist” mode, discovering wonderful new art and historical features each day. Walking gives you a whole new perspective in your world and slows everything down to an enjoyable “smell the roses” pace. Now, on my morning and evening walking “commutes” I meet new people, hear live music, and am drawn into new restaurants…life is great!”


“I live up north, only a ten-minute walk from my bus stop. I love how easy it is for me to keep an eye on the transit app in the mornings, and then stroll over to catch my bus to downtown for work. I get to ride the 803 rapid, and enjoy the Wi-Fi in order to get work done (or to browse Twitter, really), and it drops me off a short distance from my office. It’s all so convenient, I have no good reason for not starting long ago. I started taking the bus after getting fed up sitting in traffic and paying for downtown parking. It was also more important to me to prioritize a commuting method better for the environment.”


Thomas Butler, Movability Austin’s Program Manager, uses flex hours to maximize his work time. “I usually start my day later and work until about 7:00 pm. That way I avoid the worst of the rush hour traffic, and a trip that would take 45 minutes during peak commute times only takes 15 minutes.”


Madison, a Box employee, lives close to her office and bike or walks to get to work.

“Like most folks, I am a busy gal!  I like multi-tasking and getting in some exercise while commuting. Even if I don’t have time to make it to the gym on a particular day, I know at the very least I’m getting in over 5 miles on a bike!  I LOATHE sitting in traffic. I actually own a car that is a 2004 and I haven’t even put 65,000 miles on it- that’s how much I avoid driving! I enjoy that it takes me less time to bike to work than it would to drive, that I get in a bit of exercise, and that I tend to look around and enjoy my beautiful city more than I would in a car! Plus, I use the money I save on a downtown parking spot and gas to treat myself!”




Alexis Burns, Vice President of Accounting with Endeavor, is a Commute Hero!

“Endeavor recently offered a 6-week pilot program which included telecommuting as an option. I telecommuted from home once a week during our pilot which allowed me flexibility to run errands or attend to appointments at locations near my home. Being in my own neighborhood for the day, I also had the opportunity to occasionally have lunch with my child at school which was a great perk! Also, skipping the commute in/out of downtown once a week was a benefit as it freed me up to do other tasks.”



“Most days I bike from home to downtown and park my bike in a parking garage by the Museum Metro Rapid stop and take the 803 bus to work at the Pickle Research Campus in North Austin. Often after work I take the 803 back downtown to go to a city meeting or to hear music downtown or in South Austin and then walk or B-cycle back to where my bike is parked.”


“I don’t have a typical commute thanks to my status as a freelance reporter who headquarters from home. However, each day will find me running from one government building to another. I primarily scoot around on my bike, but also walk, take the bus, or — when I’m running late — I’ll find a Car2Go. When I do the latter, I’m often reminded why I got rid of my car in the first place: Driving simply sucks. Sitting in a steel box all by myself while maintaining full attention on the other steel boxes around me piloted by thoroughly fallible humans is a complete drag compared to the breezy peace I get while zipping around on Austin’s growing network of bike lanes. Sure, the heat and some hills can be killer, but short trips, light clothes, and a little planning ahead takes care of that. In the end, I save thousands of dollars each year, get some exercise, reduce my carbon footprint, and probably add years to my life just by avoiding the stress of futzing around with rush hour traffic.”


How do you commute and why? I commute to work by bike. I love biking to work because I can actually get to work faster than driving. I also love biking to work because it gets my blood flowing and I always feel so fresh and ready to work after biking in. I work for a Landscape Architecture firm called RVi and as a landscape architect, biking gives me a change of perspective that helps me design those same types of places whether it is a streetscape, a bikeway, or a park..

What do you enjoy about your commute? I enjoy everything about my commute from the fresh air to the muscles pumping. I also really enjoy the Lance Armstrong Bikeway. I feel so safe biking to work and a big reason is because of that Bikeway.

Any tips for people interested in biking downtown? To just do it! I first started commuting with a Walmart bike and a backpack and it was my first step to getting more comfortable biking on the road. As I got experience I was able to realize what would make me more comfortable for my commute like clipless pedals and a pannier. Eventually you find a routine that works for you and trust me, you will never want to drive to work again!



Photo by Lauren Gerson 

Douglas Hannah is a professor at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, and a savvy commuter! “I commute by bike. It’s an easy 20-minute ride up through downtown that lets me clear my head and get some exercise. I don’t have to find (or pay for) parking, never get stuck in traffic, and am able to lock up right outside my office door. Plus, I’m able to start my day with a nice spin through the beautiful capital grounds. I think people don’t realize how bike friendly Austin is, but it really is a great way to get around – and getting better all the time!”



“I take a Cap Metro bus to and from work. I just moved to Austin a month ago, and came from a rural area where there was no public transportation. I enjoy my commute because it’s economical – I don’t have to worry about the cost of a car.”


“Coming from Round Rock all the way to downtown, it’s costly. The company I work for, the parking garage costs $220 a month. You put an hour’s worth of traffic on top of that, and it doesn’t seem worth it. The cost of getting on the train is almost non-existent, and all in all I spend 50 minutes commuting a day. When I was driving, I was spending an hour and 45 minutes commuting.”




“I sold my car five years ago, and haven’t looked back. Austin is becoming more and more public transportation-friendly, with new innovations and technology always popping up. I currently take the CapMetro #7 bus to and from work each day. I’m lucky that the bus stop is a block from my apartment, and a block from my office. It’s a quick 25-minute commute, and the trip has definitely improved with the downtown bus-only lanes. Also, being a state employee, and a member of the Texas Public Employees Association, a new TPEA-CapMetro partnership allows me to get my monthly bus pass for 25% off. My commute is a great way to relax before and after work, catch up on reading or Facebook. As for other transportation options, it’s also easy to utilize car-sharing Car2Go or grab a Fare. Utilizing alternative transportation methods is saving me well over $500 a month. And in a city with so many things always going on, that’s more money to get out and enjoy living in Austin.”



Caroline commutes downtown by parking at the Metro Park & Ride at the Triangle and taking the 801 MetroRapid bus downtown, then walking five minutes to her office.

“I started taking the bus downtown in late 2016 because parking prices have skyrocketed in recent years. Instead of driving every day, I’ve loved being able to relax on the bus. The bus lanes make getting downtown faster too! I love not having to deal with the Austin traffic in the mornings and evenings. I mostly listen to NPR during my commute time, listen to a new band on Spotify, or read a daily newsletter I’m subscribed to. I like taking advantage of the time, so I feel like I’m being productive.”


John Kennedy, the Downtown Austin Alliance’s new Vice President of Mobility, is something of an expert on alternative commutes! Here are just a few of the options he likes to use to get to work:

“I often bike to work (about 10 miles each way, mostly away from the road on the beautiful Southern Walnut Creek Trail as well as along the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail into and out of downtown). A couple of years ago I did a six-day bike tour from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC (about 350 miles, average 60 miles per day). Last year I rode my first century and also did a tour of Skyline Drive (Runs north from the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia) for two days and climbed more than 13 thousand feet. I love that cycling is a significant component of my commute. I use telework and flex hours when circumstances such as evening meetings, travel, or inclement weather change my normal work hours. I also try to walk, bike, or utilize transit when attending local meetings.”



20161107_153910-1Alice works at the Downtown Austin Alliance, and often carpools with her husband Steve. “We’ve been carpooling for about six years due to his arthritis flare ups making it difficult for him to drive. Since he works at TxDOT’s Riverside campus it was an easy decision to carpool. Thanks to the DAA flex time, I was able to adjust my commute to arrive and leave earlier than normal. I’m also able to work remotely if I need to accompany him to any doctor’s appointments. We try to be as flexible as possible and sometimes he’s the one who drives me to work if I need to work later than normal. We get time to catch up in the car and work out dinner plans before we make it home and listen to podcasts and music on our drives.”




“I starte15356108_1193152467435340_1024825806_nd riding my bike to lose weight and get in shape years ago. I found out I could do that and ride to work, and eventually integrated cycling into my whole lifestyle. I ride to work to save gas, help improve the environment, and for enjoyment. Riding a bike is plain fun whether I’m riding to work, to get groceries or on vacation. I always feel better after even a short ride.”


unnamed“I first started using public transit via Capital Metro a few years ago.  My husband and I both work downtown but have two elementary age boys that attend Austin Discovery School in far east Austin.  We’ve always loved to live close to downtown to partake in all our vibrant city center has to offer!  In an effort to make that happen—we saved money by going down to one car.  Over the years, we’ve swapped who drops off/picks up our boys and who takes the bus to/from downtown.  It’s worked well for us and I find myself often the one offering to take the bus every day!  I catch up on email, read something on my Kindle or just relax with my Spotify playlist!  It offers me a bit of quiet time to myself daily that I’ve really come to enjoy. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to share the benefits of alternative transportation with my colleagues and lucky that Movability Austin is helping me accomplish that!”



Dana works at the Downtown Austin Alliance, and often takes the bus to get to work. “I work two blocks from my girlfriend, so it seems silly to take two cars downtown. Then I don’t have to pay for parking, and I can use the bus pass anytime (like weekends). Plus, I love riding the bus because I get to interact with people I don’t usually interact with, I can text and watch video, and it slows me down. It’s really just less boring and less stressful.”




capmetroElizabeth works at Silicon Labs, and is part of the company’s Transit Committee. She’s also a Commute Hero!

“I moved to Austin from Montreal, a city with a highly evolved transportation system, and so it was natural to me to continue riding the bus. One of the key parameters in my apartment selection was to be located on a major bus line straight to work. The Rapid 801 stops directly on the corner of my street. My morning commute to work allows me to listen to music, catch up on email with the free on-board wifi, or simply look out the window and enjoy the ride. I am also a huge fan of Car2Go, especially when my adventures take me on meandering routes with differing to-and-fro paths.

Silicon Labs recently rolled in the MetroWorks program, allowing employees to purchase discount transit passes. We also engage with Movability Austin for quarterly Transit Adventures, where we take the bus to explore various neighborhoods around town. Destinations have involved local breweries and tasty lunch spots!

I am looking forward to Austin expanding public transit as we work together to solve our traffic woes.”

Lisa Kay

img_8595-150x1871Lisa Kay Pfannenstiel has been overseeing the bicycle commuter facilities at St. David’s Episcopal Church since 2014 and helping connect cyclists with secure and convenient facilities to make their commutes easier. St. David’s, at 301 East 8th Street, offers inside and outside secure bike storage, as well as onsite showers. And bike commuters can also take advantage of the coffee shop on the premises.

At $20 to $40 per month, you’re not going to find more affordable downtown parking! The bike facilities are also across the street from a Capital Metro bus stop and a B-Cycle station, so you can grab a shower, get some coffee, and walk or ride to your office. If you’re interested, find out more information here.




img_0194Movability Austin’s Communications Coordinator, Kate, has been rehearsing several times a week with Panoramic Voices for their upcoming Mozart Requiem Undead concert. The choir has been using a downtown church with very limited parking for weeknight and weekend rehearsals, so Kate has been riding the bus to and from rehearsals.

“I like to jump on the 3 or the 803 – the bus drops me off right in front of the church, and I get to relax and review my music or read a book instead of stressing over traffic. Best of all, I don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot, or pay for one, once I get there!”


Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 1.40.24 PMGreg Buford is the Business Development Coordinator at Capital Metro, a Movability Austin board member, and a Commute Hero!

Greg works remotely three days a week, which gives him added time in his day and means he gets to skip sitting in traffic. When he does go into the office or to meetings, he uses transit to get there. Greg isn’t new to using mobility options – before joining Capital Metro’s team, he was an employee at Dell, where he worked remotely.

“It reduces my stress and give me more time with my family,” he says of teleworking.

Way to go, Greg!


Robin and her employer are both CScreen Shot 2016-08-17 at 12.01.22 PMommute Heros! Robin works for uShip, a downtown Austin tech company. uShip charges its full time employees $50 per month for garage parking, but for those who choose not to drive, the company offers Green Credit. Is you choose to opt out of parking, you get $50 a month as an incentive for going green, Robin says. The company also has bike racks, tools, and tire pumps for bike commuters.

Robin has taken advantage of that offer, using a combination of alternative transportation and her bike. Since starting work with uShip in March, she’s logged 270 miles on her bike! “I’ve saved money, my stress levels have gone WAY down and I feel overall more sane. Commuting and sitting in traffic every day was killing me!”

Robin also has advice for biking in the heat:

-Leave early! If you have flexible work hours, try to leave early before peak intensity sun hours.

-Hydrate all the time, especially if you are biking while the sun is up. I use Nuun Tablets in my water to help replenish electrolytes, as I find they’re less sugary than Gatorade.

-Bring a change of clothes to work. I often find I’ll get to work feeling sweaty and smelly during summer months, and feel grateful for remembering to put an extra shirt in my bag.

-Take a pit-stop if you feel you’re getting over-heated. Research signs of heat exhaustion, and try not to feel rushed, especially on your commute home after long working hours.


unnamedDan is a Sr. Technical Fellow leading the Client Products SOC Architecture team at AMD. Outside of his busy work schedule Dan is an avid cyclist. In May 2009 he was looking for a way to train more during the week, so he started riding to work. Recently he passed 12,000 miles of bike commuting!

I live in Bee Cave (Falconhead), about 16.5 miles from AMD’s campus in southwest Austin. I ride to work 2-3 days per week. For those familiar with Austin, I take FM620 to Bee Caves down through Barton Creek to Southwest Parkway to the office.  Best part is the route has some great climbing going both directions adding up to about 1400′ vertical each way.  That’s where the real workout comes in. I love the quiet time to think and get organized for the day, or to detox at the end of the day. Often, my cycle travel time is the same as it would be driving. It’s great in the evenings when I just blow by everybody in traffic. Sitting bumper to bumper by the way seems much more exhausting and repetitive.”

For those who aren’t looking for that kind of a workout but still want to explore bike commuting, Dan says “I’d suggest riding once or more per week for at least one month. Just getting started is often the hardest part. If it’s too far, consider driving or using public transit part way, then riding the rest. If you need help finding a route, start with the City’s bike map and/or go to a bike shop for help. They can also suggest appropriate gear and bike if you need it. Also, sometimes new riders like to partner with a more experienced “bike buddy.” Austin has a Bike Buddy site that facilitates these matches, as do many cities around North America and even the world. If you’re on the fence, give it a chance and you’ll probably be surprised at the benefits.”


unspecifiedJordan, a Capital Metro employee, uses all kinds of options to get around. On a typical day, she bikes to the train station, locks her bike in the secure parking, catches up on her Criminal podcasts on the train, then takes a B-Cycle the rest of the way to her office. Jordan says she finds this way less stressful than driving in traffic.


Molly is a NetSpend employee whmollyportero’s a bus rider rockstar!

“I started riding the bus to work after moving to Austin from Chicago. I was used to taking public transit everyday, and thought I’d give it a try before purchasing a car. I was happy to find out that riding the bus was super easy! I enjoy the time to myself on the bus ride to either read or rest or catch up on my email. I also enjoy the exercise I get on my short walk to the bus stop. I’ve learned a lot using public transit including new stores and restaurants opening on my route.



Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 4.22.27 PMWhen Movability Austin’s Membership Manager Alix Scarborough first moved to Austin, she did the default: drive. “It was an easy choice – the only commute incentive my employer provided was free downtown parking. But I soon realized that even meditation was not making MoPac traffic manageable. I was arriving to work cranky, and dreading my afternoon drive. A co-worker told me about her experience as an occasional bus rider, and I was intrigued. When I moved to a new residence a few months later, I looked for something near a MetroRapid stop and promised myself to take the bus at least two days a week. I immediately noticed a huge difference in my stress level, and started taking the bus more and more frequently.


“Currently, I take the MetroRapid 801 almost every day. I like to read the news on my phone, or listen to NPR. When the weather’s bad, I grab a car2go or beg a ride from one of my friends. Most of my meetings are downtown and walkable, and I also do a lot of video conferencing so that everyone I work with can avoid the trip. I plan to sell my car when I move again in a few months.”













efc32e1674505ea672_k1m6b9tilLarry Graham is chair emeritus of the Downtown Austin Alliance board, and has been a bicycle commuter for the last 10 years, riding to work about three days a week. He also loves to use Austin B-Cycle when he’s downtown. “My office is at Barton Skyway and Mopac, and I live in Allandale, seven miles from the office. My house is maybe ½ mile east of Mopac. It takes me the same time (or less) to ride home than it takes me to drive home on MoPac.  It is actually a rational choice for me.

Also, I have a friend in the building that also commutes via bicycle.  Frequently, we ride home together.  Much more pleasant than being stuck on Mopac. My 7.3 mile commute includes several miles on trails separate from the roadway, including the mile-plus Johnson Creek trail, from Mopac and Enfield to the pedestrian bridge over LadyBird lake.  People would be surprised at how pleasant most of my ride is!

Sometimes after work I stop and go for a row at the Texas Rowing Centre, which is maybe ¼ mile off my route.  Much easier to access via bike.”

Image via People for Bikes


FullSizeRenderBill Brice, the Downtown Austin Alliance’s Vice President of Operations, has been a super commuter for over a decade.

“For 12.5 years I’ve ridden to work on Monday mornings with my wife after we drop off the kids (now just one) at school. Tuesdays through Fridays I regularly ride the 6:20AM # 803 bus (used to ride the #3) from Burnet and Justin into town. I usually carpool home with my wife, but in summer months I ride the bus home more often.”

Glenn Gadbois

Gadbois_as_Revere-54x5As we get ready to say goodbye to Movability’s first Executive Director Glenn Gadbois, it seemed only fitting that he should be our latest Commute Hero. Glenn walks the walk when it comes to mobility options (yes, pun intended). Not only has he worked with businesses, organizations, and various public sector entities to help thousands of Austin commuters access and use options, he himself is a creative commuter. Glenn recently moved downtown, where he can walk or B-Cycle to work. Before that move, he was a regular rider of the 803 and 3 bus routes down Burnet Road.

When Glenn was featured in the Revolutionary Austin exhibit as a modern-day Paul Revere, he said “I sort of feel Paul Revere-ish when I travel the streets warning, “congestion is coming” with all my hopeful faith that a new urban revival is afoot.”

Thanks to all his work, Austin might indeed be headed in that direction.

Way to go, Glenn!

photo credit: Sandra Ramos


Screen shot 2016-04-05 at 1.44.15 PMThis week’s Commute Hero comes from Capital Metro’s Austin Collective profiles. “After a life-changing experience at SXSW in 2011, Danny moved from Cincinnati to Austin to launch his startup. ‘I love the people of Austin and the accepting environment in this city,’ Danny says. ‘I got to know the city by riding my bike, but I often take the bus to go further and stay cool in the summer.’”



Screen shot 2016-03-14 at 4.45.38 PMMeet Matthew Lewis, Assistant Director of Planning at the City of Austin. We ran into him on the MetroRapid on a recent morning and got to hear about his commute.

On Choosing a House

“When we moved to Austin, I told my realtor that I wanted to be within half a mile of a transit stop. We started looking around the ML King Jr. Station, but the tiny homes going for half a million dollars were out of our price range. We ended up moving to the Highland neighborhood, near the Crestview Station. It’s a well-connected neighborhood with a park nearby and lots of transportation options. It feels like the neighborhood hasn’t been ‘discovered’ yet and we love it.”

On Using Lots of Options

“The nice thing about the Crestview Station is that I have my pick of rail or MetroRapid. Most days I take the train into downtown, then B-Cycle the rest of the way. I like starting my morning off with a short bike ride. But sometimes I take the MetroRapid instead, because it drops me off right in front of my office.”

On Selling His Car

“Austin is horribly congested and it makes driving stressful. I avoid it whenever I can. With 2 young kids, it’s hard to go completely car-free. But my wife just got a job near Plaza Saltillo Station, and we’ re hoping that will allow us to become a one-car family.”


“I like to take the bus because it provides peace of mind, less stress, and less wear and tear on my car.”Screen shot 2016-03-03 at 10.41.13 AM


Screen shot 2016-02-16 at 11.54.18 AMWhat first encouraged you to start taking the bus?

Before moving to Austin, I lived in Boston without a car for five years. Taking public transportation became a necessity for me in Boston and I wanted to continue that lifestyle in Austin.

Why do you like taking the bus now? What is the best part of your commute?

I like having time to unplug on the bus before/after work. No road rage!

What advice do you have for other downtown employees who are considering changing their commute? My advice would be to weigh the money you’re currently spending on parking and gas against the price of a monthly bus/rail pass. I would have to pay nearly $200 a month to park in the garage provided by my work. For me, the price difference is so great that I don’t consider driving as a plausible alternative.


Screen shot 2016-02-03 at 3.17.25 PMValentina is a Commute Superhero! Not only has she started trying out new ways to get to work, but she is helping her coworkers do the same. She organized a Capital Metro lunch-and-learn and a B-Cycle lunch outing as part of the Commute Smackdown game at Studio 8 Architects, where she works. About her own commute, Valentina says, “Even though my commute via car is an easy one, I prefer taking the bus because it is a short moment where I can relax before a crazy day. I come to work more at ease and ready for the day when I didn’t have to fight traffic or parking in my car!”


Jonathan lives in North Austin and has been enjoying his carless lifestyle! He commutes to work via the MetroRail. He’s excited to be moving back closer to downtown Austin, but still plans to remain carless and commute via transit.

Screen shot 2016-01-18 at 4.50.27 PM


Screen shot 2016-01-04 at 3.45.42 PMJessica’s favorite modes are walking, running, and biking – anything to get her heart pumping. She and her husband bike to work together along the hike and bike trail from Riverside, so they’re able to avoid major roads and enjoy natural scenery. “To me, having a car feels restrictive. That may sound crazy to some people, but I love the freedom of choosing whatever mode fits best in each situation. My Touring bike will take me wherever I need to go, and I arrive clear-headed and energized.”

Jessica’s advice to new bike commuters:

  • Map your route in advance so you feel confident. Don’t be afraid to stop along the way, and pull off somewhere safe to check your map and re-orient yourself.
  • Go with a friend your first time! Jessica says, “My husband was our bike pioneer. I felt more comfortable trying out new routes and learning the rules of bike commuting with an experienced cyclist to help.”
  • Be respectful of all modes of transportation, and obey the laws.
  • Claim the lane when you need to, and even when you aren’t sure if you need to. “If you’re biking up against the curb, cars may pass you in the same lane when it isn’t really safe,” she says.


Evan has been taking the MetroRail for two years, and loves it. Why? “It’s easy. And much faster – it could be over an hour with traffic, but on the train I’m downtown in 30 minutes.”Screen shot 2015-12-07 at 5.39.36 PM



Marcus is a commute ninja – he combines MetroRail and B-Cycle for a seamless commute to his office. “I’ve lived in Austin for 20 years, but I’ve seen the most of the city in the five years I’ve been using commute options. When I’m on the train and on a bike, I have time to look around and see new things, instead of just staring at someone’s bumper. It even gives me ideas for areas to explore on weekends. Plus, the less stressful commute has definitely lowered my blood pressure!”

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Screen shot 2015-10-14 at 11.22.48 AMChristina likes to take the train and walk, but she usually bikes to get to work because she can avoid parking hassles and traffic, and gets to exercise while commuting!

Irene and Michelle

These two ladies have been riding Capital Metro to their downtown jobs for 12 years, and formed a friendship over many bus rides. They call themselves the “Thelma and Louise of Capital Metro.”


Screen shot 2015-09-14 at 5.45.45 PMAlicia loves walking from her downtown residence because it gives her time with her thoughts. For longer trips, she grabs a handy car2go!


Maureen is originally from New YorScreen shot 2015-09-01 at 12.38.02 PMk City, so she’s used to using public transportation. She found that in Austin, the 801 Rapid route works perfectly for her – it’s an easy and convenient bus ride!


Screen shot 2015-08-18 at 10.45.42 AMMichael owns a car, but only uses it when he needs to drive long distances. To get to work, he rides his bike, and which accomplishes two things: it gets him out of being stuck in traffic, and it’s a great workout!


Subra started biking out of necessity – his car was in the shop! Now, the behavior has stuck. He bikes for fun, and to stretch his legs after a long day of accounting. 

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Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 12.05.44 PMBrian commutes from Tech Ridge to his downtown job four times per week. “My favorite part about taking the Rapid Express Bus 801 is that it has Wifi and becomes my office.  At least I can get some work done if I want to, unlike driving.”  


Screen shot 2015-07-06 at 4.19.18 PMJames works at Sparefoot – they were running out of parking for new employees, so the company decided to give an incentive for people to not drive.

“I don’t live too far from downtown, and it’s actually faster to ride my bike than it is to drive! Plus, it’s great to get fresh air to wake me up in the morning. My company gives me a monthly bonus for not driving to work, so that helps, too.”


Screen shot 2015-06-15 at 4.14.10 PMZach is relatively new to Austin, but he isn’t adding to the traffic problem. In fact, he gave up his car a few months ago. Driving stresses him out, so Zach bikes to work every day and loves getting a free workout. He has even convinced some of his coworkers to try it out!


Caitlin and Kenzie

Screen shot 2015-06-01 at 10.07.38 PMCaitlin and Kenzie have been Carma members since last summer. They both work at Green Mountain Energy downtown. As green-minded gals, they like carpooling not only because it helps save pollution and fight traffic, but because it gives them extra time to hang out on the way to work. They use the Carma app to share their carpool history with their company for its sustainability report each year. They’ve also used Carma to find other people to offer rides to who work nearby. It’s been a fun way to meet other people who work downtown and live in their neighborhood.

Melissa and Abraham

Screen shot 2015-05-20 at 1.11.15 PMMelissa and Abraham are carpool buddies and coworkers. Together, they save gas and save time while they listen to Jason and Deb’s morning show on the radio. Abraham says he likes feeling like he is part of the solution, not the problem. Their best advice? Just give carpooling a try for a day or two, and see if you like it. Melissa promises: it will grow on you!

Brian and his son

Screen shot 2015-05-05 at 1.33.26 PMBrian and his son ride the MetroRapid 803 route downtown to work and school.

Why do you enjoy taking the bus? I enjoy not stressing out about traffic. I can just relax, read a book, get some work done, etc.

What advice would you give to other parents who want to take their kids on public transportation? Make the ride fun by planning an activity. My son and I usually play some sort of game or play with toys. I think for the first couple weeks that he rode the bus with me he was happy to just sit and observe but after the novelty wore off he became a little more restless and wanted something to do.

What is your son’s favorite superhero? Spiderman! Sometimes on the way to the bus stop he wants to pretend that he is Spiderman, I am green goblin, and he is chasing me because I just robbed an art museum.



“I take the bus because I can do anything I want during the ride, and I don’t have to look at the road or worry about traffic.”Screen shot 2015-04-13 at 5.05.43 PM


Screen shot 2015-03-30 at 11.27.45 AMWe highlighted RECA President Ward Tisdale’s #30DaysOffTheRoad experience in an article, but we’re also making him our Commute Hero for his intrepid commuting experiment!

“My wackiest John Candy moment was Friday, Jan. 16. It went something like this:

  • #5 bus from home (Redd St. and Gillis) to downtown (4th and Lavaca St.)
  • Seven-minute walk to work.
  • Borrowed car to the Austin Board of Realtors grand opening event in northwest Austin.
  • Drop off car at Cirrus Logic, walk to MetroRapid stop at 4th and Lavaca.
  • Took MetroRapid to The Domain for a “tasting” at the Westin Austin (in preparation for our annual fundraising event, KnockOut Night.) The 45-minute ride, by the way, was not so rapid.
  • Caught ride from RECA team member back to work.
  • B-cycle to a happy hour event on West 6th St.
  • Took bus home for night.

On that day, I traveled 51 miles using my feet, the bus, a bike, a borrowed car and a bummed ride. It was one for the ages.”



“I ride the 3 or the 803, even though I have a parking space downtown. I get tired of fighting traffic and I can read and relax on the bus.”

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“I get to avoid all the traffic congestion when I commute by bike, which is pretty nice!”

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Screen shot 2015-02-18 at 11.31.27 AM“I’m moving downtown so I can do more commuting by foot and bike. My goal is to give up my car.”


Screen shot 2015-02-02 at 1.19.47 PM“I started commuting on the MetroRail in June of 2014 to save some extra money from gas and car expenses. I bike to the Leander station from my house, downtown, and back home for a round trip of about 12 miles a day. It has been a great way to exercise and unwind. I have even lost some weight as I am now 205 lbs from my start weight of 225 lbs. And I can catch up on my Netflix shows as the train ride is about as long as one episode of my show.”



Screen shot 2014-12-10 at 1.08.33 PM“In the mid 90’s I was gaining weight and decided to commute by bike to work. I was an executive at a 3,000-person corporate headquarters in Pennsylvania, and I was the first person to bike to work. Twelve and a half miles each way I loved it loved it! I could think, I could see the foxes, I could go along the river in the afternoon, and I could get all that tension out from my boss not doing the right thing. And that’s what got me started.

“I’m retired now, and one of the main reasons I decided to come to Austin is because it is one of the most bike friendly cities in North America with a warm climate during the winter. I commute four miles to the gym three times a week, and to go grocery shopping. I love biking!”


“I decided to give up my parking spot at the Omni Hotel this October in place of riding the rail. What was a one hour-plus commute to downtown from Hutto is now a relaxing 30 minutes. Even my weekly massage therapist has asked me what I am doing differently because she can feel how less stressed I am!”

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“My wife and I share one car – she works west of Loop 360 and I work downtown. I use Car2Go, Carma, RideScout, and CapMetro to get around. It’s so easy! With the apps on my phone, I can get just about anywhere in Austin, nearly anytime! My wife can keep the car, I have rides all over the city!”Screen shot 2014-11-05 at 10.59.51 AM


“My commute to work started with a decision of where to rent a house. I was determined to live somewhere that I could get the bus to my office and also walk or bike to downtown. This is not as easy as it sounds because my office is one of the suburban low density developments out on Loop 360.
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The answer was the Zilker neighborhood. The Cap Metro number 30 bus route makes this possible and is frequent enough and reliable enough to make the first part of my journey easy. The second part of my journey is a 25 minute walk up the hill past Westlake High School, which is less easy (missing sidewalks etc.) but is highly rewarding for the views, the exercise and the fact that I am not fighting traffic!”


“Biking supports my basic principles: it’s good for the environment, good for my health, it’s cool, it’s fun. Biking keeps our streets feeling like places for people. Why would I commute any other way?” Screen shot 2014-10-01 at 11.54.38 AM


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“When I first began biking in Austin four years ago, my work commute was 18 miles round trip; moving closer to where I work has brought other options, like running to work and taking the bus on the way back. Bicycling is my preferred way to travel to work–it’s the right speed, guaranteed exercise, has no pollution and I can enjoy the world around me.”

 I always have the bus, B-Cycle, or Car2Go on the bench if I ever need a hand getting a further distance or to a downtown meeting.  I love watching Austin’s infrastructure grow. Whether its cycle tracks protected by curbs, new trails, or trees between the road or the sidewalk – people walking and biking need a safe and social way to travel!”



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“I live in North Austin and occasionally use a combination of bicycle and train to get to work downtown. When I do use options, the bike ride back home is something I especially look forward to. It’s a great way to decompress from the workday.”



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“Working downtown, feeding the meter got old quick. After trying a few options, I like the flexibility and portability of my folding kick scooter, MetroRapid, and on lazy/ bad weather days, I use car2go. What can I say, I like options!”


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“I gave up my car 11 years ago and I love it. I ride in on my bike or take the bus depending on my mood. I feel good, save money, and get to experience the city in a fun, different way.”


“I’ve been commuting by bike for about two years now. I started it because I have no other time to exercise, and because we didn’t want to buy a second car.”Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 1.20.56 PM


Screen shot 2014-06-12 at 10.27.22 PM“Being fortunate enough work at Whole Foods Market Global Support, I am immersed in a culture that both encourages and actively supports commuting by alternative transportation.

As a result, my cycling to work has afforded tremendous health benefits while removing concerns of traffic, parking, and gas. I have been car-free for over a year and loving it.”

Charlie Betts

Betts_headshot_lowresIt’s not a stretch to say that this week’s Commute Hero has done a lot to keep Austin moving. Seventeen years ago, when Charlie Betts took the helm as executive director of the Downtown Austin Alliance, Charlie led the organization’s support of efforts to put a light rail line on the 2000 ballot. Since then, under Charlie’s leadership, the DAA has been on the forefront of a number of major transportation initiatives, such as starting the Great Streets Program, bringing MetroRapid and MetroRail into downtown, introducing bike sharing to Austin, and adding managed lanes to the MoPac Expressway that allow transit. And, of course, we would like to express our appreciation for Charlie’s longstanding support for the formation of Movability Austin and for DAA’s role as a founding sponsor of our organization.

Charlie will take a well-deserved retirement at the end of this year. Charlie, thank you for everything you do to keep the city moving.



Screen shot 2014-05-08 at 3.59.27 PMIntroducing our first-ever audio Commute Hero! In his When In Austin podcast, insurance agent Terry Grier (who is also an option-loving commuter) interviewed Steven at the Crestview Redline Metrorail station.

Listen to what Steven has to say about the benefits of living close to transit and what he gains in time and personal connections from commuting on the train.


“I ride the Express bus because it gets me out of traffic, it’s a comfortable ride, and it has free wifi. Plus it saves the wear and tear on my car and my employer pays for my pass. There’s no reason not ride the bus.”Screen shot 2014-04-28 at 12.15.32 PM

Michael and Jennifer

My wife and I both work downtown. We take the 801 from SouthPark Meadows and get an extra 45 minutes of work done each way with the awesome WiFi! So our time in the office is shorter and we don’t take work home. She walks two blocks to work and I take a B-Cycle that turns a 20 minute walk into a 5 minute ride. Love it!

Michael and Jennifer


Screen shot 2014-03-31 at 12.35.53 PMOn why he rides the bus into work every day:

“It’s simple. Somebody else takes care of the driving and I get to have a cup of coffee, read the paper, and chill out. Plus I don’t have to worry about parking.”


Cassie car2go

I love that car2go is available in Austin! I ride the bus in the mornings on my way to work, but sometimes the bus will only take you so far. My job is a little over a mile from the bus stop and sometimes when it’s 100+ degrees, or when it’s raining, walking is not an option. Car2go completes me! They also have a fabulous app for my iPhone and great customer service to make my commute easy.


Austin“[Travis County offering transit passes as an employee benefit] was the catalyst that I needed to finally try out the mass transit system. I started using the pass on February 5th the day after I received it and have commuted on the rail or bus more days than I have driven into work since. I live up near Lakeline Mall and it has been a relief to get away from being behind the wheel during the peak traffic hours of the day.”


JA-D Bike Close

“Biking to work is the equivalent of my morning coffee cup—it helps me kick start my day through a 15-20 minute ride where I get to disconnect from phones, computers and clear my head before getting into work. It takes away the stress of traffic and the dreaded hunt for a parking spot downtown. After my ride, I feel great physically and mentally knowing I am saving money, staying physically active, and being part of a greater cause to make Austin a better city to get around.”



Leah BojoI love using all modes of transportation—bus, train, bike, carpool, carshare, and even, sometimes, my own personal vehicle (yuck). I’m glad to live in a place where I have choices, and I (and my mental health) look forward to the day when personal vehicle isn’t even on the list! I feel hopeful that we’re all moving in the right direction when I read about and witness decreasing trends in autos use and ownership and increasing trends in central living and transit ridership. We can all do our part to make transit better is by using it!


“I love riding the bus because it gives me time to read books and I don’t get frustrated with Austin traffic. Also, I fill up my car once a month instead of four times a month previously.”


“I love riding my bike to work. It’s great exercise and ‘ME’ time!”

Teresa Granger

Alykhan & Tara

Ali Khan and Tara

“We both wanted to bike to work, but kept making excuses. In an
effort to hold ourselves accountable, we’ve started a friendly office
competition – whoever bikes to work the most days each week is the


IMG_1017“I’ve been commuting by bike for about two years now. I started it because I have no other time to exercise, and because we didn’t want to buy a second car.”


“I’m very excited about using bikeshare to get around town!”


“I work downtown and I take the #7 to and from work every day.  I love being able to read, check emails or simply look out the window and relax during my daily commute.  Definitely beats the stress of traffic, parking and buying gas!”


I love taking the bus. Every day, I get easy exercise walking to and from the bus stop, then pay a nominal amount and get close to work – all while catching up on news and email. Best part? I pay about $0.70 a ride (instead of $$$ in gas) and I don’t have to deal with parking headaches or traffic jams!


“Before biking became my preferred mode of transportation, I was concerned about looking prepared for downtown meetings.  Then I found out that Mellow Johnny’s shower facilities were available for downtowners! Their facilities allow me to show up to my downtown meetings refreshed and happy. Having Mellow Johnny’s downtown makes it easy to bike downtown and still attend important meetings. “


I enjoy bicycling as recreation, and my primary form of transport.  I have commuted by bicycle in Cincinnati, Hartford, Tucson, San Francisco, Houston, Minneapolis, and Austin.  I have lived in Austin car-free since 1999, and I commute by bike, foot, bus, and train.

I mostly ride a Surly Cross Check with pannier bags and racks for carrying items.  During the summer in the 100 plus degree days, I wear extra comfortable – yet office appropriate – clothing, like seersucker shirts, to keep cool.  Also, a wide brimmed hat helps, and so does bringing deodorant and a hand towel to wipe off the sweat if needed.


“In an effort to incorporate more exercise into my busy schedule, I started riding my bike home from work a few times a week. In the mornings, I ride the bus in so I’m not sweaty and then enjoy the 30-40 minute workout on my ride home. The bus ride has given me time to read more books and the bike ride has helped me gain some muscle!”


“What started out as a way to fit exercise in to my day while doing something that was a necessity (getting to and from work), has completely changed every aspect of my day.  I feel so much better and have more energy when I ride and I can usually even manage to make it home in the evenings faster than if I drove.  It is helpful having access to showers when I get to work in the morning.  But at this point even if they took that privilege away, I’d just stink all day and work with helmet head!”


“I told myself as soon as I had a place to shower, I would start biking to work. Now that I have one, I bike three times per week – 14 miles a day! Travel time is 20 minutes longer than driving, but now I get exercise twice a day!”

April, Rachel & Melissa

“Why didn’t we think of this sooner?! We recently formed a carpool to cut down on our expenses and take advantage of the free parking program for carpoolers at our agency. It saves us time, money and we get front door parking. All it takes is a little bit of preparation; carpooling is easy and makes life better.”



“I take the RedLine downtown from the Kramer Station. It’s cheap and quick – just $1 each way and takes only 27 minutes since there’s no traffic. Plus, parking is no problem. I have Wi-Fi so I can use my iPad, or just relax and take a nap.”


“Thank you for your help last year in helping me find parking for my car and also a safe route for cycling into downtown. The short bicycle ride to and from work helps me avoid traffic jams (great for my mental health) and provides an opportunity for physical activity in an otherwise sedentary work day. But most of all riding my bike into work is good old fashioned fun!”


“It took me a couple weeks to get used to getting up extra early and adjusting to my bike/bus commuting schedule but I love it now. I feel guilty whenever I do have to drive my own vehicle”


“I get around 90% by bike, the rest I use car2go. It’s more sustainable and has helped me lose weight!”


“I used the bus this weekend because of SXSW. I’m going to keep using it because of all the money I saved.”