“Smart Trips Austin” Aims to Answer Tough Transportation Questions

By: Hannah Mullin and Cathy Cibor, Alta Planning + Design

Intimidated by e-scooters? Not sure how to find the best bus route to get to work? Worried biking will be too hard?

Here’s how Alta answered those questions in Austin, TX.

For the past three years, Alta’s programs team has supported the City of Austin and Capital Metro by encouraging residents throughout the city to use transportation options through a program called Smart Trips Austin.

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Whether it’s walking, biking, taking the bus, or using new mobility options, the Smart Trips Austin project team wanted to make accessing these modes fun and interactive, rather than intimidating.

Alta worked with the City, Capital Metro, and local program outreach ambassadors to plan more than 15 events over four months. Residents were able to participate in mural tours, group bike rides, transit adventures, and historical walking tours that allowed the Austin community to try transportation options in a stress-free environment. The events are fun, but more importantly they build confidence through experiential learning.

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This year’s program was focused on reaching residents in Central East Austin.

“We wanted to make sure our program reached the entire community.,” said Hannah Mullin, senior programs specialist at Alta. “To do this, we worked closely with partners like cultural organizations, schools, and neighborhood organizations to offer events that highlighted what makes Central East Austin unique.”

Go to the profile of Alta Planning + Design
Go to the profile of Alta Planning + Design

With this in mind, the project team partnered with shared mobility companies in Austin to host two different events — one with Lime scooters and one with JUMP bikes. The rides highlighted local destinations in Central East Austin, and participants received tutorials on unlocking the devices as well as discount codes to lower the barriers to entry.

The program, which wrapped up in November, reached over 8,000 households and ambassadors hand-delivered over 600 Toolkits filled with transportation resources like maps, lights, and bus schedules to Central Eastside residents.

Interested in implementing this model in your own community? Contact Cathy Cibor on our programs team!