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Ways to Commute and Decrease Traffic Congestion in Austin

Austin Traffic Led to Fatal Accidents in 2015

If you live in Austin, you know how bad the traffic can be. 2015 was Austin’s deadliest year, and traffic accidents were a major part of the problem. The year ended with 102 traffic fatalities, 65% more than 2014. Many cities have congested highways, well ours has two: Mopac and I-35. In 2015, 15 of the 105 deaths took place on I-35. This is unfortunately not surprising, because 220,000 vehicles travel on I-35 every day, and only 14% of vehicles do not stop. McMinn looked back at 2015 and found even more alarming statistics that prove at Austin has a serious traffic problem. It is important to look at our history of traffic and accidents to determine ways to solve these problems.

May 11th Declared Austin Don’t Rush Day

Tomorrow, Wednesday May 11th, has been dubbed Austin Don’t Rush Day (ADR). This movement is intended to encourage drivers to opt for another mode of transportation during rush hour when traffic congestion is unbearable. Mayor Adler has been encouraging Austinites to decrease vehicle usage for some time now, such as Austin Work from Home Day this past February. This has stemmed from widespread dissatisfaction with traffic in Austin. Since 2010 citizen traffic satisfaction has dropped from 27%, which is already disappointing, to an alarming 17%. This is due in part to an increase in population. Between 2010 and 2015 the population of the Austin-Round-Rock area (MSA) increased by 16%. Because of the daily increase of residents and visitors, Austin traffic is at an all-time high, leading to a 16.5% increase of registered vehicles.  So, any movement that could reduce traffic congestion is welcomed with open arms.

Getting To Work and Minimizing Traffic

Movability Austin, the organization that is promoting ADR, emphasizes that there are many ways to beat the usual lonely rush hour commute. Cutting down on vehicles on the road will not only reduce congestion, but also reduce motor vehicle emissions. There are many ways to participate in ADR Day. Here are some ways to beat rush hour:

  1. Capital Metro: For Austin Don’t Rush Day, Capital Metro is offering free rides and extended service. This includes the MetroBus, MetroRapid, MetroExpress, UT Shuttle, MetroRail, MetroAccess. Time to take advantage of that deal! Want to take the bus? Go online to capitalmetro.com to plan your trip, or download the Capital Metro app on your phone. If you haven’t used public transportation in Austin before, now would be the perfect time to start.
  2. Bike: If you have a bike, time to use it during rush hour. Don’t have a bike? Well, Austin B-cycle is offering a free day pass for ADR Day! It is pretty simple, select “Buy $8 pass” at any B-cycle station and enter the promo code 051116. Once you enter the code, the fee will be waived. Don’t want to arrive to work sweaty, and only want to bike part of the way? The CapitalMetro busses have bike racks on the front, with the ability to carry multiple bikes at once. So why not bike to a bus stop and sit and enjoy the ride the rest of the way. And if you’re still a little sweaty, just bring some deodorant and a change of clothes, just in case. But remember, when biking, be safe. Check our page on quick tips for bikers here.
  3. Carpool: If you work far away and public transportation will take you far too long, organize a carpool with coworkers that live in your area. Imagine if every four people that usually drive alone to work share one vehicle. How many cars could we get off the road? If there were 100,000 vehicles on the road, that would take us down to only 25,000. That’s a big difference. Even if you’re going a short way, carpooling is a great option, not just for ADR day, but for everyday. Capital Metro also offers a rideshare program, which is definitely worth checking out.
  4. Change Your In and Out Time: The problem with a 9-5 job is that most people have the same schedule. Traffic is a problem because of this common schedule. So, for ADR Day, why not change up your schedule? Go to work before or after the 7 to 9 am rush, and head home before or after the 4 to 6 pm rush. Another option? Work from home in the morning and then go to work when traffic is bearable, or leave work early and work from home the rest of the day. Also if you are flexing your work time or carpooling, download Metropia, an app that helps you avoid traffic and plan your route. By downloading this app and showing that you carpooled or were flexible with your work time on 5/11, you can get bonus points and unlock prizes.
  5. Delay Going Home: Movability Austin suggests exploring your environment after work. Instead of getting in the car and going home, enjoy happy hour close to work or get an early dinner. This way, you can hang around and enjoy the area, and not hit the road until after traffic has died down. And hey, why not take the reins and organize an after work rendezvous? This way, you’re not the only one missing traffic, but your coworkers are as well.
  6. Work from Home: If you have the type of job that allows you to work from home, time to take advantage. Ask your boss if you can work from home for Austin Don’t Rush Day, and just avoid commuting all together.

Another perk of Austin Don’t Rush Day? If you use the hashtag #austindontrush on social media posts, you can be entered to win spending money at the Downtown Street Fair!

Keeping Austin Roads Safe and Accident Free

Safety is incredibly important to us at McMinn. We have seen what traffic accidents can do, and believe that being proactive is essential. Unfortunately, accidents continue to occur in Austin, and traffic congestion is a major cause. Make sure when stuck in traffic that you are remaining focused and not distracted by boredom or your radio. If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, call us at 512-474-0222, use the live chat on our website, or email info@mcminnlaw.com.