UT Joins Forces With City To Reduce Traffic

By Dalton Phillips

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Several polls point to Austin’s suffocating traffic as being the worst part of living in the city, and the glacial construction on various highways is doing little to alleviate the suffering.


Austin City Council approved a $2.5 million, five-year agreement between the Austin Transportation Department and The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Transportation Research on Feb. 25 in response. The funds will go towards analysis and research related to congestion, with the goal of producing long-term solutions.





Experts from both parties will evaluate the effectiveness of the several traffic tactics, including adaptive traffic signal timing, which was rolled out last year to adjust stop lights during rush hour. In addition, the team will create a spreadsheet of goals for the city’s Transportation Management Center, focusing on innovation rather than expansion.


Each year Austin acquires an abundance of traffic data that goes widely unused. A large part of these duties will be to analyze and present that information in a useful way.


Jen Duthie, a research engineer at UT’s Center for Transportation Research, and a member of the task force, commented on the potential for good this new alliance offers.

 “The big agencies in the region are collecting a lot of data and they need help turning that into information,” she said. “We can take that data, do analytics on it and create visuals. It would help our ability to do traffic predictions and it will also help them turn this data into better information for the city staff.” – Jen Duthie, UT Austin Center for Transportation Research

Its inhabitants can only hope that new collaborations will yield promising results.




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