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Capital Metro and Austin Transportation explore traffic-relieving synergies

Thursday, June 13, 2019 by Ryan Thornton

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority started sharing real-time bus location information with its customers earlier this year, but the agency recently brought that data to the Austin Transportation Department to help solve a traffic congestion issue at Zilker Park. According to Jared Wall, one of five traffic signal engineers at ATD, Capital Metro gave the department access to its minute-by-minute bus delay information hoping the department could come up with a solution to keep its buses from getting behind schedule. Wall said the department had also been hearing about traffic issues heading eastbound through Zilker Park on weekends and was able to use the data to identify the “chokepoint” at the intersection of Barton Springs Road and Azie Morton Road. The department found that the issue was happening primarily within the hours of noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and was able to relieve the problem by engineering longer green lights headed eastbound on Barton Springs Road during those hours. Wall said since then, there have already been more conversations with the transit agency about opening up a data-sharing partnership to solve similar cases around the city. In the meantime, he said, the No. 1 way the department learns about signal timing issues is through individual citizen reports to 311.

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