During construction of the MoPac Express Lane in Austin, Texas, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (The Mobility Authority) relied on Metropia’s platform and mobile app to communicate lane closure and other construction and work zone-related alerts to the driving public. Metropia’s app helped drivers avoid delays and increase the overall roadway system efficiency by better utilizing available capacity.
Travelers were also advised of optimum travel times, alternative routes and were incentivized to carpool using the platform’s ridematching feature to reduce the number of cars along the roadway construction zones.
The platform was deployed throughout the construction of the MoPac Express Lanes beginning in 2015 and continued through 2019.
Two data analyses were conducted to measure the impact of using the Metropia platform to alleviate MoPac Express Lane construction-related congestion. The study periods corresponded to before, during, and after the Express Lane opening.
We queried Metropia App user data to assess MoPac Expressway performance (travel time index and planning time index) and carpooling behavior (comparison of carpool users who applied Metropia carpool trip matching features versus all users).
The key findings from our study were:
1. Travelers using the Metropia App used the MoPac Express Lanes for their intended purpose: for occasional, not daily, use.
2. Trips utilizing a combination of the MoPac Express and General Purpose lanes experienced less congestion and had higher reliability.
3. Carpool person trip percentages for the Mopac Express Lanes were higher than for all of Austin.
4. Carpool occupancy for the MoPac Expressway was consistent with the overall occupancy for Austin, with 2.27 people per high occupancy vehicle.
5. The majority of Metropia App users on the MoPac Express Lanes opted to change travel time to avoid congestion.