Heads Up, Look Around

woman using map on gray car compartment
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Distracted driving is a primary factor that contributes to one out of every six traffic-related deaths and serious injuries. Daydreaming is the number one distraction. Cognitive distractions can happen at any moment while driving. From commuting to running errands, drivers can easily become distracted by their thoughts. Thinking about a work-related problem or daydreaming about your dinner plans diminishes the mental abilities required to drive safely. The danger of daydreaming and driving is that you don’t become aware of it until an accident has happened. According to a 2018 study by Erie Insurance, 61 percent of fatal car crashes were caused by people who claim to be “lost in their thoughts.” Unlike texting and driving, daydreaming might be more difficult to avoid. Maintaining a clear mind and staying actively engaged are essential to preventing distracted driving.

#JustDrive #HeadsUpAustin

Follow these tips to stay alert and aware:

  • Plan your driving routes. This allows you to stay focused on the road and not on figuring out directions.
  • Self-check your mental and emotional state. It might be best to get a ride or take transit and avoid driving if you are feeling emotionally or mentally overwhelmed.
  • Make a playlist with music that helps you focus. Upbeat music can help you stay alert and awake. Download the music that works best for you.
  • Chew gum to stay alert. Studies show chewing gum helps.

Heads Up, Phones Down

Texting while driving has become one of the leading causes of distracted-driving related accidents, especially among teens and young adults. Statistics show that even though texting while driving is banned in 47 states it is still a common practice despite the risks involved. Technology is ingrained in the lives of teens and young adults generating constant distractions while driving. Talking, texting and posting to social media increases the probability of being involved in a car accident. Sending out a text message, even with voice assistance, may not seem dangerous but it can be devastating. Staying focused while driving is not always easy, but it can be life-saving. Call or text later when you’re off the road!   #JustDrive  #HeadsUpAustin

adult automotive blur car
Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

Here are some tips to help you prevent distractions and stay focused while driving:

  1. Complete any call or text message before driving. It will help you avoid the temptation to use your phone while driving.
  2. Silence your cell phone. This is another way to limit being distracted by your phone.
  3. Put your cell phone out of reach. You can’t check what’s not there.
  4. Pull over if it is important. Unless it is an emergency, it can wait!
  5. Download apps to block calls and texts while driving. Use technology to your advantage.

Heads up! It’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Distracted-Driving

Capital Metro wants Austin drivers to know April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. All month we’ll be raising awareness about distracted driving behaviors and potential consequences while providing helpful tips to stay safe.

We will highlight examples of the three most common types of distracted driving; cognitive, manual and visual, and offer tips to avoid these risky behaviors. As drivers, we must be aware of our behaviors to prevent and avoid accidents and strive to always act responsibly when behind the wheel. Traffic deaths and injuries are no joke.

Numerous accidents are caused by unnecessary distractions like texting, talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup or simply daydreaming. Don’t put yourself or someone else at risk when you’re behind the wheel. Take this month to pledge to become a better driver. Stay tuned for our weekly blogs with information and tips on ways to prevent distracted driving.

New Performance Dashboards Offer Peak Behind the Scenes

By Reinet Marneweck, Capital Metro CFO

Today, Capital Metro officially launched our online Performance Dashboards on CapMetro.org after presenting them to our board of directors. The initiative is another step in Capital Metro’s effort to be transparent and provide data in a clear and efficient manner, both for our board and the public.

The new Performance Dashboards will track metrics in four important categories:

  • Ridership
  • Safety
  • Service Reliability
  • Financial Transparency

These dashboards will collect data from our various internal systems across multiple applications. They’ll replace quarterly reports agency staff has been providing to board members, as well as the monthly ridership stats posted online. We think the dashboards will result in better data-driven decision-making, improved data consistency and increased transparency.

The quality of the information provided will increase greatly with the Performance Dashboards. As an example, we formerly had provided a spreadsheet with raw ridership data divided among services and service providers. The Ridership Dashboard, on the other hand, will provide context for that data. It will show systemwide year-over-year trends (for the entire system or for an individual route) and display the top five routes over the past two years. It will also offer views on ridership by route for different parts of the week, be it weekdays, Saturdays or Sundays.

Ridership-Dashboard
Sample Ridership Dashboard for Route 4 – 7th Street

This is also an ongoing project that will grow and change. We’ll soon augment the Ridership Dashboard with in-depth route-by-route information and add a scorecard measuring our performance against the Capital Metro Strategic Plan.

To view the Performance Dashboards, scroll to the bottom of any page on our website and click the button labeled “Performance.”

We also want to hear from you and to discover what you are interested in learning about. If there’s data that you don’t see but wish you had access to, please let us know by emailing Feedback@CapMetro.org. (Be sure to put Performance Dashboards in the subject line, so we can keep track and forward it to the appropriate team.)

Cap Metro Wins FTA Grant to Study Development along Green Line

Commissioners Court_2-12-2019

Capital Metro President and CEO Randy Clarke spoke today to the Travis County Commissioners Court about an upcoming study of the MetroRail Green Line, a proposed commuter rail service between Austin and Manor. 

The study will be funded by a $600,000 grant provided by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) won by the agency in December 2018. It will examine the potential for transit-oriented development (TOD) along the Green Line, which is one of several corridors identified as potential Project Connect services, the long-term vision for a regional public transportation system.

The Green Line would operate on 15 miles of track owned by Capital Metro. It would travel east from Downtown Station toward Johnny Morris Road and the Colony Park area of eastern Travis County before reaching Manor.

 

Come Celebrate Girl Day at UT

UT-Girl-Day

Cap Metro is thrilled once again to work with our partners at the Austin Public Library to bring folks down to the UT Austin campus for Girl Day on February 23. The event will bring together more than 8,000 elementary and middle school students on campus to celebrate International Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, which is called just Girl Day (or even #UTGirlDay if you like a hashtag).

The students will be able to do a ton of hands-on stuff that’ll get them familiar with what engineers do and how they make the world work. The kids will work with more than 1,500 UT students, faculty members and professional engineers from around Central Texas. They’ll also have loads of fun!

(And, just to be clear, boys are welcome, too.)

The festival takes place on campus from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23. All are welcome. That is, if you can get down there. You know, with the traffic and the parking fees and the headaches. That’s where we come in.

We’re providing free Park & Ride services from 6 Austin Public Library locations for the day, giving you the chance to avoid the hassle and cost that come with trying to get to and park on campus. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can park at any of the 6 library locations listed below, go inside to request your free Local Day Pass and Trip Guide, and then hop on the bus. You can also download a free digital Day Pass to your CapMetro App and, as always, KIDS RIDE FREE.

YOU MUST REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE RIDE AT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS:

  1. Little Walnut Creek Branch | 835 West Rundberg Lane | Routes 1, 801
  2. Pleasant Hill Branch | 211 East William Cannon Drive | Routes 1, 801
  3. Recycled Reads Bookstore | 5335 Burnet Road | Routes 3, 803 (* Opens at Noon *)
  4. Ruiz Branch | 1600 Grove Boulevard | Route 20
  5. Southeast Branch | 5803 Nuckols Crossing Road | Route 7
  6. Windsor Park | 5833 Westminster Drive | Route 10

To plan your trip to Girl Day (or anywhere else), visit capmetro.org/planner.