Please Come Out to Support the Commute Solutions Program Monday Night at the CAMPO Policy Board

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This coming Monday night, April 9, there will be an opportunity to provide public comment to the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) on awarding over $400 million in transportation projects over the next four years, and we are asking for you to please consider coming to the meeting and voicing your support for funding for the Commute Solutions program. It is important that the  CAMPO Policy Board members hear directly from members of the community why it’s important to use this opportunity to reinstate federal funding for the program. By helping commuters in Central Texas make transportation choices that maximize the efficiency of the existing transportation network and expand the use of alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles, the Commute Solutions program provides numerous community benefits, including reduced congestion, reduced air emissions, improved safety, and enhanced access to economic opportunities and social services. Learn more about the time and location:

Some things to consider:

  1. Central Texas’s congestion problem, as documented in the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI)’s 2015 Urban Mobility Report, is one of the worst in the country:
    • In terms of “Consumer Stress Index” – a measure of excess time spent in traffic along the most congested commuting routes, the area has the 7th worst congestion in the country and the worst in the state
    • In 2014, commuters in the region spent more than 51 million hours delayed in traffic due and burned more than 21 million excess gallons of fuel due to congestion
    • This excess time and fuel spent in traffic added up to over $1.1 billion in costs to the local economy
  2. On-road vehicles are the region’s primary contributor to air pollution
    • Based on the EPA’s air quality index, Central Texas air pollution levels are considered “moderate” or “unhealthy for sensitive groups” on about 1/3 of the days throughout the year
    • The region’s ground-level ozone levels are only 1% below the maximum allowable under federal standards
    • On-road sources account for 42% of the region’s emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX), which drives up regional ground-level ozone, fine particulate matter (PM5), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels
    • For comparison, power plants within the metro area only account for less than 5% of the region’s NOX emissions
    • Vehicle emission rates (i.e., grams per mile driven) are much higher when a car is operating below 20 miles per hour than when they are operating at free-flow speeds
  3. Commuting by alternative modes of transportation can be much safer than single-occupancy vehicle commuting
    • A nation-wide study showed that cars, trucks, and SUVs have a fatality rate of 7.3 per billion passenger-miles
    • The study showed that passenger trains have fatality rates of just 0.15 fatalities per billion passenger miles, and buses are even lower at 0.11 fatalities per billion passenger-miles
    • This means that traveling in a passenger vehicle carries a fatality risk 50-65 times that of traveling by bus or train
  4. The trends in choices commuters are making within the region are in the wrong direction
    • Across the CAMPO region, the percentage of commuters who choose to commute to work by single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) has increased from 75% to 79% between 2009 and 2016
    • There has been an increase in the % of commuters choosing SOV commuting in every single county in the region
    • Among the six CAMPO counties, the highest increases have been in the counties outside of the I-35 corridor where there is access to more options, ranging from a 7% increase in Bastrop and Caldwell Counties, and a 10% increase in Burnet County
  5. Travel Demand Management (TDM) programs like CAPCOG’s Commute Solutions program can have a significant impact
    • Research on the impact of regional TDM programs across the country indicates that it can have approximately a 0.1% - 5% impact on commuting decisions
    • Based on the costs of excess time in traffic and fuel consumed in traffic alone, a 0.1% reduction in congestion could save the region $1.14 million a year
    • CAMPO’s modeling of TDM strategies for the 2040 plan showed that for every 1% reduction in vehicle miles traveled during rush hour, there is a 1.25 – 1.43% reduction in average time spent commuting region-wide
  6. Residents in rural and suburban communities with limited access to transit and commute over long distances tend to benefit most from initiatives to promote carpooling, ride-sharing, telecommuting, and flexible schedules
  7. Among the four largest metro areas in the state (Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Central Texas), Central Texas is the only one without a federally-funded regional Commute Solutions program

TDM is the only mobility strategy listed in CAMPO’s 2040 plan that does not currently receive federal funding.