By 2035, about 55 percent of the Central Texas region's jobs are anticipated to be located within the Project Connect North Corridor stretching from downtown Austin to cities in Williamson County.

This growth is one of the reasons that area transportation and elected officials have been bringing ideas to the table in the past couple of years to create a regional transportation plan.

On April 16, North Corridor planners—consisting of mayors and other elected and transportation officials from those communities—unveiled their locally preferred alternative, or LPA, map of transit options to connect those cities via bus and other transit services.

The overarching Project Connect vision aims to connect four counties and 13 cities, including Austin, Pflugerville, Hutto, Round Rock and Georgetown. Included in that vision are five corridors emanating out from downtown Austin, and each corridor has its own plan. The highest priority corridor is the North Corridor.

With 110 people moving to the region daily and bringing their vehicles, Capital Metro President and CEO Linda Watson said the timing is right to do something about the region's mobility.

"If we want to maintain prosperity, preserve the natural beauty and our quality of life, we've got to do something about our congestion," she said. "Without a well-thought-out and executed transit plan, we're going to have problems. We all know that one simple solution will not solve our congestion problem. We need it all: roads, but as importantly, transit."

Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw, who chaired the North Corridor planning team, said the key is offering efficient alternatives, which was one of the team's guiding principles in creating the plan.

"If you're going to ask people to get out of their cars and get into some form of transit, whatever that might be, the only way they're going to do that is if you provide a true alternative to their automobile," he said.

Recognizing the solution is not a one-size-fits-all was also important guideline in creating the LPA, McGraw said.

"The density in downtown Austin is obviously completely different from density you're going to see in Hutto, Pflugerville, Round Rock or Georgetown," he said. "We still have to come up with a regional plan and regional solution, but we need to recognize there are differences in the region and try to make it all work together."

Included in the LPA are:

  • Four new Park & Ride facilities

  • 29 additional miles of MetroRapid service. This is Capital Metro's high-capacity bus-rapid transit service that launched Jan. 26. It provides more frequent service.

  • 52 new miles of Connect bus service. This is a new bus service that will provide direct but limited bus service between major centers of population and employment.

  • 53 new miles of Express bus service. This is a limited service designed mainly for commuters to travel between North Corridor cities and downtown Austin.

Benefits of the proposed services are linking transit services and providing an estimated 19,000 additional daily transit trips that could remove 10,000 vehicles daily from the region's roadways, said Todd Hemingson, Capital Metro's vice president of strategic planning and development.

"We think this plan will serve both traditional transit markets as well as new riders, maximize our land-use opportunities and build something that's expandable," he said. "We need to build a plan that can be scaled accordingly."

Implementing the North Corridor plan comes with an estimated $164 million in capital costs and $30 million per year for operations and maintenance of the services and facilities, Hemingson said.

Next, the team will meet with the different jurisdictions to discuss funding options and creating a contract for service. For more information, visit