How can Austin reduce its traffic congestion? Don’t drive alone to work, officials say

About 75 percent of commuters drive alone to work during peak periods, Mayor Steve Adler said.

About 75 percent of commuters drive alone to work during peak periods, Mayor Steve Adler said.

Austin has topped many “best of” lists for a variety of reasons, but it also tops the list as one of the most congested cities in the U.S.

“That is going to choke out our opportunity to succeed and maintain this city as the kind of city that we want it to be,” Mayor Steve Adler said. “But there is still time for us to fix this.”

Adler addressed mobility this morning during his second annual mobility breakfast, at which he encouraged companies to work with their employees to reduce the 75 percent of Austin-area residents who commute alone during peak periods. He said companies could do their part by reducing their employees’ drive-alone commutes by 20 percent.

“If one day a week everybody would travel in the nonpeak time, travel in someone else’s car or take the bus or train that the reduction would have us with free flow traffic on our highways, on MoPac and I-35,” he said.

He cited Austin Don’t Rush Day in March during President Barack Obama’s visit during the South by Southwest Conferences and Festivals as an example of this happening.

Movability Austin, which provides tools and training to companies to find alternative commute options for employees, is helping companies achieve this 20 percent goal. These options include carpooling, telecommuting, flexible work schedules and ridesharing.

Companies that have pledged to work toward that 20 percent reduction include AMD, Austin ISD, Bazaarvoice, the city of Austin, HomeAway, Samsung and Travis County. Movability Austin is seeking 20 new companies to commit to the pledge for 2017.

See what companies have to say about participating in the 20 percent challenge:

“We can have happier and healthier employees, and we can have mobility-related networking opportunities that let us all talk about it and recognize what we can do together to have an impact now. … For employees it means more control over our most valuable commodity—our time. It gives us the ability to have a less stressful day every single day.”

—Jim Pledger, law firm Jackson Walker LLP partner and chairman of the Movability Austin board of directors




“Our mobility program, though relatively new, now includes flexible work schedules, telecommuting, support for ride sharing and public transit for 650 employees as they travel to and from about 25 locations in the community. … It’s been critical to change the way we think about our work days in order to ensure both our employees and our [credit union] members have a greater experience. Happy employees make for happy members.”

—Tony Budet, University Federal Credit Union president and CEO




“We’re facing competition for talent. We want to attract and retain the best people. Workers comp insurance is not exactly the sexiest environment to work in, and we’re never going to have happy hour Fridays. We wanted to make it a [place] where people wanted to work, and we saw these mobility solutions as really a way to help take care of our employees.”

—Jeremiah Bentley, Texas Mutual Insurance Co. senior manager of marketing and community affairs
By Amy Denney
Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and then senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition and covering transportation. She is now managing editor for the nine publications in the Central Texas area.


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