The project used data-centric resources to help us understand hidden fact-based stories about Austin’s commuting characteristics. Some of the most significant restraints of the project are the lack of data resources, and data found not supporting the hypothesis, no data relationship, or ambiguous problems. 
     After combining a variety of open data sources from the UScensus, Zipatlas, the City of Austin’s (COA’s) open data, and the Bike Master Plan, the story reveals complex problems about public usability & public accessibility of Austin bike commuters. It also poses some questions if the COA’s policy decision is made based on data since data not only reflects local livability and cultures, it also reveals Austinites’ struggles in their home city driven by innovation.
     Although data can identify the problems and users’ behavioral patterns, impactful solutions must be user-centered by not only supporting found data but responding to the needs of the community. Upon completion, the project must answer two questions: 
1. If community members have more access to public transportation and bike facility such as bike lanes, shower stations, bike maintenance stations, would they rethink about their commuting habits, from driving to cycling & using public transportation? Will that reduce traffic congestion in Austin?
2. How might we determine which communities need bike facility and public transit so that we can give them accessibility & encourage people to bike more?
DATA STORY
Within the past 7 years, there were almost 92,000 people have moved to Austin, adding more traffic to the morning commute. 
The number of cars on the road increased by 18.4% since 2009. In 2016, there were around 400K cars on the road per daily commute.
The number of bike commuters stays the same since 2009, which is around 1.4%. Also, fewer people prefer using use public transportation (decreased 1.2%)​​​​​​​
Time commuting has shifted from 10–24 mins to half to an hour one-way alone. The worst congestion happens in the morning from 7 am–10 am. Traffic congestion usually lasts 2.5 to 3.5 hours.
     From this fact-based data, we can predict that if there are more and more people move to Austin, traffic will get worse because people prefer to drive their vehicle in steads of biking or using public transportation. According to the City of Austin's Master Bike Plan report, the cost of the congestion would be $8.4 billion in 2026. They are putting $58 million on bike infrastructure, expecting to reduce 20,000 cars from the road.
As a community member, we should raise these questions: 
— Where are these new bike lanes going be? 
— Who wants to use them?
— Who has access to them?​​​​​​​
PUBLIC ACCESSIBILITY
Currently, Austin is ranked #11 for the best biking city in the US. The bike-share system is ranked #3, exceeding above and beyond other cities. Austin has an estimate of more than 2300 bike-share system (before the city launched dockless bikes). They are located near the central area for the majority of users — tourists. 
     Austin bike facility score is ranked #30 with no bike shower and bike maintenance station. The COA's Bike Master Plan reported that as Portland, Oregon added more bike infrastructure, bike commuter has increased enormously. However, will this model will affect Austin commuting characteristics? Will adding more bike lanes ensure the increasing number of bike commuters and reduce traffic? The concern is geographical location. With the summer heat (more than 90 degrees F), bike facilities (shower & maintenance station) is a must.  
Most b-cycle and bus stations are located near the downtown area, in which the majority of users are people who live near central Austin, tourists & visitors.
PUBLIC USABILITY
People in the central and east of Austin who live in (1) average & below-average household income, prefer to use public transportation, walk to work. They are also the people spend less time commuting to work. In comparison to those who live in West Austin, those who have more than 2 vehicles in their household spend more time commuting because they prefer driving their cars. But also, biking or using public transportation isn’t the best option for those who live in this area. It’s not accessible.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
All of these data pose 2 questions about the relationship between Public Accessibility vs. Public Usability.

You may also like

Back to Top