Back to School Safety with CapMetro

With school back in session, it’s a great time to brush up on your knowledge of both rider and traffic safety. Whether you’re traveling using CapMetro, behind the wheel of your car, riding a bike or scooter, or commuting as a pedestrian, the number one key to safety is awareness.

To help you move around Austin safely and effectively, here are some traffic safety guidelines to keep in mind on the go.

Back to School Safety

  • Drive with extra caution near school campuses.
  • Watch out for students walking to & from bus stops.
  • Avoid distractions during your commute.
  • Everyone riding CapMetro is required wear a mask (including kids!).

Safety Tips for Riding CapMetro

  • Always use traffic lights and crosswalks, and obey all warning signals and railroad crossing gates.
  • When boarding and exiting, watch your step and do not cross in front of the vehicle.
  • Please stay back at least three feet from the curb and station platform edge while waiting for the bus or train
  • Standing while riding is permitted except on MetroAccess vehicles. Look for a pole or a strap to hold for safety
  • Sitting or standing in the doorway or the stairwell is never allowed.
  • If you need to remove your bike from the rack at the front of the bus, alert the operator as you exit.
  • Face masks are required while riding and waiting to ride. If you are feeling ill, please wait to ride until you are feeling If you see something, say something. Report suspicious activity using the CapMetro App or this webform. When riding MetroRail, use the intercom to reach the train engineer. Report emergencies or suspicious activity to any bus operator, uniformed personnel or call 911.

MetroRail Rider, Driver and Pedestrian Safety

  • Stand behind the white line on the platform while waiting for the train.
  • Stay clear of the tracks. If you are standing on or near the tracks, you may not see, hear or feel the vibration of an approaching train.
  • Photos on tracks can be deadly. Don’t risk your life for a selfie.
  • MetroRail trains are faster and quieter than freight trains and not required to blow horns in designated quiet zones.
  • Cross tracks only at designated crossings and never cross tracks when the gates are down or lowering.
  • Do not try to beat the train to a crossing when driving. Stop at least 15 feet from rail crossings.
  • Never stop on the tracks.
  • Capital Metro has a zero-tolerance policy for trespassing within the railroad right-of-way.

Traffic Safety for Drivers

  • Stay alert and on the lookout for pedestrians, people riding bikes or scooters, and CapMetro vehicles.
  • Please slow down and obey speed limits, respect traffic signs, and avoid distractions.
  • Stay alert for buses as they stop for passenger boarding.
  • When you approach railroads, be cautious. Stop, look both ways and listen for a train before crossing. Respect flashing red lights, do not drive around the lowered bar and never stop on the tracks.

Bike and Scooter Safety

  • Ride with the flow of traffic, to the right in the same direction as other vehicles.
  • Obey traffic laws; a bicycle is a vehicle and you’re a driver!
  • Stay alert for both vehicles and pedestrians as you ride. Avoid using headphones in both ears as to not block out potentially important sounds like horns, railroad crossing bells, etc.
  • Plan your trip before you begin your ride and come to a stop in a safe location before checking your phone.
  • You know not to drink and drive, but don’t drink and ride either. The same laws apply to cycling while intoxicated, so find a safe ride home that doesn’t involve you behind the wheel or the handlebars.
  • If you’re renting a bike or scooter, be sure to park it in a dock or safe place out of the way for other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Motorized bikes and scooters are not permitted on city trails.
  • Wear brightly colored clothing and especially light colors at night.

Pedestrian Safety

  • Stay alert and pause your music or podcast while traveling through busy areas to ensure you can hear warning signals from nearby drivers.
  • Obey the traffic signs and watch for vehicles.
  • Use crosswalks and do not walk along railroad tracks.

While these following these tips is sure to keep you safe as you travel, you can find even more safety information over on our website. Here’s to a safe school year, in the classroom and on the road!

P.S. Don’t forget that students K-12 ride free, UT students ride free with a valid UT student ID and ACC students ride free with a green pass!

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.)

For the People Who Live Here

Transit Design Guide

Austin’s growth is a tough one. We all know its double-edged nature.

New people and new growth are great. They make for lots of fun and cool things to do and see. But they also make it super expensive to live here and hard to get around. Dealing with that growth requires deliberate thinking and planning. The temptation is just to build quickly and to do so thinking of today’s problems while leaving tomorrow’s for later.

Capital Metro’s Transit Design Guide brings together standards and best practices for how to build a place designed for the people who live here now and for the ones to come. So often, our answer has been simply to build more and build more and build more.

More houses further out.

More and bigger roads to get there.

More offices and shopping centers and apartment complexes wherever we can fit them.

The Transit Design Guide helps guide our thinking, to make sure that the region grows thoughtfully and efficiently. Topics addressed include:

  • Transit-Supportive Street Design
  • Bus Stop Design
  • Transit Lane Configuration
  • Rail Station Design
  • Park & Ride Design
  • Security
  • Transit-Oriented Development & Place-making

It’s about integrating people and place in planning. It’s about thinking — as we’ve been saying all along with Project Connect — of how to get people from here to there rather than how to fit more cars on that road. This sort of inclusive design builds a region that people want to live in, can afford to live in and that is safer to live in. (Cars are dangerous, y’all.)

As we continue to expand our transit system and look for ways to accommodate this growth, things like the Transit Design Guide and our TOD Tool provide a framework for facilitating consistent high-quality transit service and supportive land use. The guide is available with our Service Guidelines.