We are nearly halfway through Connections 2025, Capital Metro’s transit plan for the future. We sat down for a conversation with Russ Chisholm, lead project manager from TMD for Connections 2025.
Q: Where is Capital Metro in the Connections 2025 process?
A: We are rolling ahead at full speed. One major milestone was finalizing the Market Analysis, allowing us to better understand the current mobility needs of Central Texas. We all know there are mobility challenges, but we needed to pinpoint the root of those challenges and identify the potential future opportunities. You can find the results of our market analysis here.
As part of that analysis, we evaluated population, employment centers and demographics; current and potential land use and development; and the mobility needs of the entire region. What we found is probably no secret – but the projections show Central Texas (Travis County) will increase by 80 percent between 2015 and 2040! In our analysis, we dive into different market segments to help understand the needs across many slices of the population pie. Next, we will identify the system changes that are needed to accommodate that HUGE growth.
Q: What impact do land use decisions have on our transportation system?
A: Land use decisions always have a direct impact on how we plan for a transportation system. Like many other American regions, Central Texas has a mix of high-density urban pockets and low-density rural areas. Transit is more successful in areas of high density and challenging in rural areas. Our challenge is creating an integrated network of streets, bike paths and sidewalks that are efficient and understandable—and incorporating them with transit. Planning for future developments by linking transit and land use is extremely important as the region prepares for huge population increases.
Q: We all know we have mobility challenges, but what specifically did you find to be our biggest challenges?
A: We have identified four key market challenges currently facing Capital Metro:
1. Low gas prices
2. Historic automobile-centric development patterns
3. Housing affordability within the central city
4. Emerging employment centers outside of the core
Q: What are the greatest opportunities for Capital Metro?
A: We have identified four market opportunities: livable communities (transit-bike-walk areas), work commuting, transit-dependent residents and senior mobility.
We will be assessing each of these in more detail and seeking community input as we develop recommendations for the service plan.
Q: Tell us about what to expect over the course of this year?
A: We have done a thorough examination of ridership patterns, evaluated how service is delivered and how it performs, and performed this market evaluation. Public involvement events will be held in September. We will then use these findings to help shape the development of a five-year and long-range service plan. The target adoption date for the final Transit Plan is the end of this year.