• Aug 2nd 2012 at 9:00PM
  • 11
Austin, TX has always been known for great live music and delicious southern food. But as the town grows, it's becoming known for its smart transportation strategy. In this week's episode, we went to Austin to see what all the buzz about. Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in America. In fact, between 2000 and 2006, it was ranked third for growth. Planners quickly noticed the trend and decided to look at how they could improve Austin's public transit in hopes to avoid a situation like Los Angeles, where growing pains have clearly affected people moving.

Planners took to the drawing board, and started with a very basic concept: design the city for the pedestrian. By starting with the pedestrian, the hope is that more people will be comfortable walking or biking instead of driving. Austin is laying pedestrian paths throughout the city as wide as 18 ft. Not only will walkers and bikers use the sidewalk, but cafes could also utilize the space for outdoor patios.

Austin planners foresee more people using bikes to commute to work as well, even in the hot Austin weather. In fact, the heat has also been planned for too. Planners recommend showers and bike locker rooms to local businesses, so that there are options for employees cycling to work. Austin is also proposing a bike rental system much like Vélib' in Paris.

In the multimodal spirit of transit--one that uses all types--Austin has committed to expanding its urban rail system. Originally proposed in 2007, Austin's urban rail would connect downtown, UT-Austin, the Capitol and the Mueller development area. The plan is still up in the air as the city figures out costs and finds a developer. But the key is that Austin doesn't see growth slowing down, so these measures are important to keep the city efficient.

For those who need to drive, Austin has a few options. First, there are the car sharing programs: Zipcar and Car2Go. Car2Go is especially visible in Austin because they are assigned street parking all over the city. Car2Go was able to negotiate the parking fee with the city and put it into the rental fee. So whenever someone needs a car to go to Whole Foods (founded in Austin), they can easily go grab one, grab their groceries, return the car, and take public transit or walk home.

Another way Austin is promoting green driving is by providing over 100 charging stations for EVs. Austin Energy teamed up with ChargePoint after winning a grant to provide customers with unlimited charging for only $5 per month. (We could see this being a great benefit to those who use vehicle-to-grid in their homes in the future.)

The various transit options that Austin offers has convinced some to get rid of their cars altogether. Oil may be big in the Lone Star state, but in Austin, green is the way to go.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      We were hit with a $500 insurance increase for my wife's Honda. Both of us have a perfect driving record with no claims ever. Shocked by this increase I went online to get some quotes for her car. The two sites I first visited were actually more expensive than our new rate, but then I found ( http://bit.ly/SaveonInsurance ) I got a quote within minutes and ended up saving over $300 on our car insurance!
      • 3 Years Ago
      The west coast of Texas
      Rick and Carrie
      • 3 Years Ago
      The lunacy of the eco nuts "ride our bikes to save the earth" deplete all water in drought stricken Texas. Use "eco friendly" cars....deplete all the nickel sources. I swear these people are 2 fries short of a happy meal.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Isn't it nice to have so many smart people in government that know what is best for us?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Austin Libs welcomed the illegals: you have FOOD BANK onthe main drag and 20-30illegals everywhere...spitting, shitting, trash strews everywhere, follow the diaper trail...try getting in the ER for each pregnant heathen breeders via sperm donor exponentials you have 30+ relatives...awaiting the auto-welfare citizenship womb to tomb ...designation. None of you stand up for this nation: but you cowards certainly would have whimped had you been where my family was at GOLIAD, and Remember the ALAMO because it is at every corner of the USA North, East, South and West as Planned by LaRaz=666=The Race ills, you welcomed your own throat to be cuts...are you that ignorant that you would bow to something referring to themselves as "the race"?????????I guess so, even the Catholic Church the largest Global Real Estate Conglomerate tells them to multip and that they do: Cock Roaches I would rather have: at least they clean up after filthy 2=leggeds... Cowards, deceptive TRAITORS WITHIN while the US Military seats in our TAXPAID Classrooms are being stolen from our US D E A D M I L I T A R Y....have fun iin Hell with the Devil
      • 3 Years Ago
      They have a long way to go. First, put sensors on the traffic signals. As designed, the tend to slow down the traffic instead of a smooth flow.
      • 3 Years Ago
      We’ll just raise the taxes on everybody to pay for all this stupid stuff because it is high-tech and because the general public is too stupid to make decisions on their own and because we have college degrees which make us smart.
      • 3 Years Ago
      These sound like great ideas, but how are these options going to encourage newcomers to use them?? People who move to Austin from, say LA, will have their car, have grown used to driving it, and will surely not be walking or biking in the heat! I think it's all very "cool", but it just doesn't seem to me like it'll make much difference - maybe for the downtown commuter/worker, but try getting across town on mopac or 35.... the traffic has only gotten worse and worse over the years. Until the city can offer time-efficient mass transit across town, I'll be driving :(
      • 3 Years Ago
      I absolutely love social engineering. People are far too stupid to run their own lives.
        • 3 Years Ago
        No kidding Burr. And if you overspray onto the street when watering your lawn, these same people will scream of drought, and the preciousness of water while they demand small businesses install waterless urinals along with those showers.
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