The City of Austin Transportation Department, in partnership with Capital Metro, hosted the Traffic Jam: A Mobility Solutions Workshop for Central Texans to educate and engage the Central Texas community on Project Connect and the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan (ASMP). The event was held Saturday, March 4, at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. The purpose of the event was to educate Central Texas residents about the ASMP and Project Connect processes, and to encourage and collect participation in both efforts.
Approximately 230 individuals attended the event. Event attendees had opportunities to participate in five activities for the ASMP, four activities for Project Connect, two panel discussions representing both initiatives and partner stations representing some of the agencies and initiatives the City and Capital Metro frequently work with.
Some of the key comments and takeaways the ASMP team learned from this event include:
- The top “Mobility Consideration” for attendees was Affordability, followed by Travel Choice, and Health and Safety
- The lowest ranked Mobility Consideration was Economic Prosperity
- 291 individual thoughts were posted to the Thought Wall and of the comments received, people posted 91 thoughts/comments under Travel Choice
- At the street-builder activity participants completed 60 street segments; multi-story building appeared in 50 percent of street designs, wide sidewalks appeared on 45 percent of street designs, and transit facilities appeared on 42 percent of street designs
- Read the full Traffic Jam Engagement Summary on the ASMP website.
While engagement was robust, especially for a rainy Saturday, the ASMP team can do more to encourage participation future community-wide events. Strategies included in the ASMP Public Engagement Plan will address these engagement challenges and do more to meet people where they already are and engage with people who find it difficult to attend government-hosted events.
The ASMP team is still going out to the community to get feedback on priorities and mobility considerations through the end of May 2016. The ASMP Public Engagement Plan includes focus groups, employer-based engagement and other opportunities to ensure we hear from a historically underserved communities. Additionally, if you represent a group or organization that would like to receive more information about the ASMP or facilitate a small-group feedback session, please email ASMP@AustinTexas.gov with the request. We’re happy to make “house calls”.
Remember, we’re not starting from scratch with community engagement; we’re mining through what the community has told us through Mobility Talks, the Corridor Mobility Programs and many other transportation initiatives. The feedback collected at the Traffic Jam will be used to validate what we’ve heard from other mobility initiatives in Austin.
The community priorities identified and validated through the Thought Wall and Priority Pyramid activity will guide the next phase in the ASMP planning process: scenario planning. During this phase transportation scenarios will be built around the mobility considerations prioritized in the community engagement phase. Each set of scenarios is a selection of capital improvement projects and policies which will be measured against their outcomes and how well they meet the mobility consideration indicators, leading to a preferred transportation scenario.
The end result of the ASMP process will include projects, programs and policies that will be presented to the City Council for consideration to adopt.