Regional commuters can use the application to find ideal routes and available nearby parking, view traffic conditions through TranStar roadside cameras, form private carpools for high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and get free emergency roadside assistance from Tow and Go, according to the website.
Routes can be customized in different ways with filters such as speed or safety for cyclists. The app offers a variety of transit options ranging from the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County to BCycle bike rentals, and purchases can be made directly on the app, the release reads.
“Traffic is a regional concern that has an impact on every commuter, an impact on our safety,” Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan said in the release. “The thing that excites me the most are the app’s safety features. ConnectSmart’s effort to reduce serious and fatal crashes is another tool to help us achieve our goal of reducing fatalities in half by 2035 and to zero by 2050.”
The app covers the counties of Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Waller, Wharton and Walker.
According to the initial project proposal in 2016, development of the app was predicted to cost around $17.8 million and was partially funded by a $8.9 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration with the rest of the money sourced from various partners.
ConnectSmart was developed by Metropia and is the product of a collaboration between TxDOT, the FHA, the Houston-Galveston Area Council, the city of Houston, Houston METRO, Houston TranStar, Tow and Go, Conroe Connection, BCycle, Fort Bend Transit and Harris County Transit.