Austin unveils new tool to fight traffic


    Austin city leaders Tuesday will unveil a new tool to ease congestion in the Capital City.

    TransitScreen is a live-updating, digital display of transportation alternatives near City Hall. There will be two TransitScreens at City Hall, one in the atrium and one in the outdoor courtyard.

    Each screen will display real-time information about a variety of transit options, ranging from rail and bus to bike or car share.

    "Austinites spend over 70 hours a year stuck in traffic," Lucia Athens, Austin's chief sustainability officer, said.

    "And if you take advantage of some of these alternatives you don't have to waste all that time."

    Austin is one of four cities to participate in a TransitScreen pilot program, along with Seattle, San Francisco and Washington DC.

    The pilot program aims to get City Hall staff, along with other people in the area, to trade their own vehicles for other mobility options.

    "Our hope is that by encouraging folks to use alternative mobility strategies, it will get people out of single occupancy vehicles, which will reduce traffic congestion," Athens said.

    TransitScreen costs around $5,000, so Athens hopes other buildings will also install them as a low-cost way to curb congestion.

    "Our hope is that if we had a broad uptake of the technology...let's say if every major building in the downtown had one of these in their lobby, then I think we'd definitely see a change in congestion," she said.

    The Austin Transportation Department is funding the pilot program. City Hall employees will be surveyed throughout the program to see if TransitScreen actually impacts their transportation choices.

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