Austin ISD will return in full force for first day of classes Aug. 15 and the Austin Transportation Department is expecting a commensurate increase in traffic as a result.

The district is returning to all in-person instruction for the 2022-23 school year and students and their families will be traveling en masse to campuses for the start of the school year. Adding to the traffic, both Round Rock ISD and the University of Texas will also start classes in August.

With so many students walking, biking and driving to school, the transportation department has safety concerns and is recommending commuters stay vigilant, manage their speed and pay close attention to any flashing beacons and signals around school zones. The department also recommends commuters leave themselves extra time to account for school pick-up and drop-off traffic.

Even before the start of school, Austin commuters are dealing with travel times that are creeping closer to pre-pandemic norms. According to data from the transportation department, average travel times during the summer of 2022 are higher than summer of 2021. Summer 2022 average travel times in the very early morning, midday and late at night also largely match or surpass pre-pandemic times measured the week of Feb. 2, 2020.

Daily traffic volume measured by the transportation department on July 29, 2022 is only 8% less than volume measured Feb. 2, 2020.

Jack Flagler, Austin Transportation Department public information senior specialist, said in an emailed statement to Community Impact Newspaper that the city of Austin is continuing to implement various public works programs to make travel safer during the school year.

"The city is continuing with infrastructure improvements funded by the Safe Routes to School program and the voter-approved Austin Mobility Bonds," reads the email. "Safe Routes to School has built sidewalks, safer crossings, medians, flashing signals, and more at 97 schools across the city since 2016. In total, more than 300 Safe Routes to School projects have been completed since 2016, with 251 more projects in the pipeline for design and construction."

Parents and students can find transportation safety tips for the start of the school year on AISD's website.