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465540-1 Report Abstract

Commuter Vanpool Systems for Satellite Cities

Gregory C. Han and C. Michael Walton, University of Texas at Austin, July 1995, 85 pp. (465540-1)

Austin, Texas, a rapidly growing city, will have to make decisions regarding its future transportation services for residents who live outside of the central area. By the year 2010 Austin’s population is forecasted to expand from today’s 700,000 to about 1,112,000 which is a mid range estimate. The high range estimate is 1,363,000. Embedded in this growth forecast is the fact that most of the growth will occur outside of the central city. The forecasted growth is consistent with recent growth trends. For instance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Census, the population of the Austin Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) grew 40% from 1970 to 1980 and by 46% from 1980 to 1990. Again, the bulk of the growth occurred outside of the central area. The satellite cities of Buda, Dripping springs, Lakeway, Pflugerville, and Round Rock more than doubled in population. These communities usually do not have the population density that would merit a fixed route transit service, yet a large portion of the residents in these communities commute to Austin to work. About 76% of Rollingwood commutes to Austin, 73% of San Leanna, 71% of Pflugerville, and 68% of Westlake Hills. The only convenient choice for most of these commuters is the private automobile. Because commuters are limited to using their autos to get to work, they become major contributors to the congestion problems that many cities face. Such auto dependency in Texas as demonstrated by more than 156,000 million vehicle-miles traveled in the state annually, second only to California. Congestion on urban interstates has reached peak proportions. In 1975 less than 40% of the urban interstate system had speeds averaging under 35 miles per hour, but by 1990 that proportion had risen to over 70%. Associated with the increase in automobile travel is the increase of air pollution. Both vehicles and more vehicle use contribute to air pollution.

Keywords: Vanpool, Commuter, Satellite Cities, Rideshare

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Reference Report #465540-1