Bus rapid transit and transit-oriented development in Austin, TX
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The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority is currently in the stages of implementing Austin’s first bus rapid transit line along one of the city’s principal urban corridors. The line will run approximately 20 miles, along North Lamar, Guadalupe and South Congress Avenue. Considering the key role that land use patterns play in determining ridership for mass transit systems, transit agencies are increasingly pursuing strategies to encourage transit-oriented development as a means of securing the success of their transit investments. Considering the relatively intense uses already existing along this corridor, the location of some of the city’s primary institutions along it, and its general importance in defining the “image” of the city, this corridor seems ideally situated to absorb significant density increases. The focus of this study, therefore, is to evaluate the general need for increased densities and transit-supportive development along Austin’s BRT starter route, to examine the overall ability of bus-based transit to generate development pressures, to outline some of the land use policies necessary for encouraging TOD, and finally, to suggest an ideal planning approach for encouraging transit-supportive development along Austin’s BRT corridor.