The planning team for Project Connect, a regional transit plan, has completed its final draft map of proposed bus and rail service options to serve the North Corridor, which extends from downtown Austin to Georgetown.

Project Connect is a partnership among the city of Austin, Capital Metro and regional rail group Lone Star Rail District. Its goal is to provide high-capacity transit options for Central Texas. These options could include urban rail, express bus and bus-rapid transit such as MetroRapid, which Capital Metro launched Jan. 26.

Todd Hemingson, Capital Metro's vice president of strategic planning and development, said one of the challenges with creating the map was working with cities that do not have Capital Metro services and working around those cities' transportation plans.

"We brought them in and made them feel like it was their plan and not Capital Metro's plan," he said.

Representatives from Georgetown, Round Rock, Hutto, Pflugerville and Austin were a part of the North Corridor advisory group that provided input into the transit options. Last June, the Project Connect team released its three alternatives for transit service to these cities and has been studying them to create the final draft.

The team selected one alternative and made a few modifications, such as adding an express bus route from Georgetown to downtown Austin using I-35 in Round Rock, SH 45 N and MoPac. The final draft also relocated a proposed Park & Ride in Pflugerville to the Stone Hill Town Center.

With the final draft complete, Hemingson said the Project Connect team will work with those cities for support in funding parts of the plan.

"We do have cost estimates, but we're in the process of breaking it down to have one-on-one discussions to say, 'Here's the game plan for your city with an estimated timeline and next steps,'" he said.

This spring, the Project Connect team will have a panel discussion with stakeholders on the final draft, and residents will be invited to attend public meetings to provide input, which could be included in the final map that will be approved later in 2014, Hemingson said.

"This is one of the first times we've done this type of work beyond the traditional boundaries of Capital Metro," he said. "It's a great partnership effort with Georgetown, Hutto, Pflugerville and Round Rock. Collectively, they have seen that the need for transit in the corridor only continues to grow."