CapMetro Project Connect System Plan
Case Studies

CapMetro Project Connect System Plan

Austin, TX

The three-year planning process resuted in a high-capacity system map and Vision Plan of the high-capacity transit corridors, with recommendations for operating configurations prioritized for implementation, based on system and equity needs.

The Connect Central Corridor Comprehensive Transit Analysis focused on improving existing high-capacity transit and express bus connections to Central Austin, as well as identifying corridors for future high-capacity transit investments. The study identified a set of alternative solutions to improve transit, including making localized improvements to existing high-capacity transit stations. In addition to the existing mobility hub enhancements, the study also included more capital-intensive projects such as transit-only lane conversions, light rail corridors, and emerging technology solutions to help future proof CapMetro investments. The team evaluated these potential projects and developed final recommendations to implement a “program of projects” to improve regional mobility and multimodal connectivity.

Working in coordination with the City of Austin, Nelson\Nygaard took a “fresh eyes” look at existing park-and-rides, transit centers, and high-capacity transit stations to assess existing development character, multimodal access, and connectivity. Using these and additional factors, the firm developed mobility hub typologies to aid site-specific improvements at over two dozen locations. The toolbox of potential solutions included features such as passenger amenities and comfort, information and wayfinding, placemaking for micromobility, and TNC solutions. As priority high-capacity corridors were developed, our team considered the operational needs for dedicated bus and rail guideway solutions through downtown to develop a set of conceptual routing options and service right-sizing recommendations for a downtown circulator.

Our in-house visual communications team developed customized animations to illustrate the tradeoffs of these recommendations and help stakeholders visualize the potential benefits of high-capacity transit for downtown Austin. The results of the three-year planning process were a high-capacity system map and Vision Plan of the high-capacity transit corridors, with recommendations for operating configurations prioritized for implementation, based on system and equity needs.

In subsequent work, Nelson\Nygaard supported CapMetro through the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts Capital Investment Grant program for the three highest priority MetroRapid Corridors. Both the Expo and Pleasant Valley MetroRapid projects were recommended for FTA Small Starts grant awards in FY 2022, marking the first substantive federal funding
commitment to advance the Project Connect program.

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