Project Connect Transit Plan
Project Connect Transit Plan
Program Management to Help Shape Austin's Future
The residents of Austin have approved a comprehensive, sweeping transit plan that will provide new travel options throughout the city as well as manage congestion, increase mobility outcomes and improve environmental outcomes.
HDR started early to help Capital Metro frame the program and the strategy — we served as program manager/owner’s representative through the program development and funding process and will continue to do so through the life of the program, which is expected to stretch into the next decade. Voters approved the Project Connect plan in November 2020, after having rejected other measures. It marked the first time after many previous attempts that Austin voters approved a transit investment.
Improving Quality of Life
Austin’s population is expected to double in the next 20 years, and even now, the city experiences some of the worst congestion in the country. Project Connect will provide two light rail lines, operating free from traffic, that will link key destinations throughout Austin and provide commuters and visitors with a mode of travel that currently doesn’t exist within the city. It also includes bus rapid transit, park and rides, a new fleet maintenance/admin facility, a new downtown transit tunnel, as well as some other customer-focused technology improvements. The expanded transit system will help manage congestion and environmental impacts of increased traffic by providing more choices to more people, allowing them to connect with more places.
The plan includes specifically targeted solutions that address deficiencies in existing services and identifies high-capacity transit investments that add mobility options for the region. Capital Metro has been working closely with stakeholders, residents and community groups to develop a transit plan that addresses the region’s short- and long-term needs.
Working Hand in Hand with Capital Metro
Having worked on this transformational mobility program from the beginning, we’re in on the ground floor and embedded with Capital Metro staff to implement this program. We helped develop the strategy for the successful vote and a winning path to implementation.
As program manager/owner’s representative, we are augmenting Capital Metro staff to help with scheduling, cost control, cost estimating as well as technical document review, strategic communications, graphics, video and 3D visualizations, conceptual and preliminary engineering, and alternatives analysis. The team will help Capital Metro to successfully manage the program, provide NEPA compliance, work with the Capital Metro team to secure Federal Transit Administration funding and work with partner agencies. At the end of the process Austin will have two light rail lines, four new high-capacity MetroRapid bus routes and an underground transit tunnel.