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Texas Department of Transportation - Houston ConnectSmart

Making Houston More Connected and Less Congested

In an effort to deploy an innovative solution that optimizes available capacity while managing the demand growth, shifts, and spikes associated with scheduled and unscheduled events, the Texas Department of Transportation Houston District (TxDOT HOU) applied for and received a USDOT Fast Act Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment grant.


In 2019, Metropia was selected as the contractor by TxDOT HOU to develop and deploy Houston ConnectSmart, a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) app that integrates the region’s Transportation Systems Management and Operation (TSMO) and Active Demand Management (ADM) with intermodal travel options to optimize available capacity while managing the region’s demand.


Integrated platform addressing System Goals and User Needs

By integrating advanced mobility technologies and data sources, Metropia provides predictive multi-intermodal travel times and costs, and leverages behavioral economics to encourage the use of alternative mobility options. The platform, launched in September 2022, represents the first deployment of a Mobility as a Service platform in a major US city.


Approach

Beginning with its white-labeled version of the GoEzy trip planning app, Metropia developed ConnectSmart with a variety of regional challenges and resources in mind. For example, In high-growth areas, public transportation infrastructure may lag as compared to the new development it supports. Another challenge facing travelers is the lack of connectivity between public transportation hubs and their ultimate origin and destination points, referred to as first-mile and last-mile connectivity.


Today, ConnectSmart’s Mobility as a Service platform has emerged as a game changer by connecting multiple modes of transportation and offering travelers access to all local modes of travel. This results in a seamless door-to-door and personalized mobility experience.


Through Metropia’s dynamic MaaS and ADM ecosystem, the Texas Department of Transportation-Houston is gaining critical insight into the operations of its network. It is able to proactively deploy ADM strategies to address travel demand, such as pre-travel alerts and en-route messaging about road closures due to roadway construction or unplanned incidents, and improve Houstonians’ travel experiences.


Results/Accomplishments

As of July 31, 2023, ConnectSmart has nearly 20,000 users who have contributed to:

  • 46,950+ miles not driven (VMT reduction)

  • 41,650+ lbs of CO2 reduced

  • 25,000+ transit tickets sold

  • $32,300+ money savings (fuel savings from VMT reductions)

Looking forward, Metropia will expand ConnectSmart’s MaaS offerings to include additional mobility options, such as national and local Transportation Network Companies, Vanpools, and updated data feeds from regional transit agencies.


Metropia is proactively introducing its behavior engine within ConnectSmart to deliver personalized mobility services to its users. Analyzing user routine trip behaviors, such as destinations, routes, modes, and time of day, to identify users who are:

  • more likely to try a new mobility alternative, and

  • provide them with personally and contextually relevant suggestions,

  • create awareness of the new mode; and

  • nudge them toward that behavior change.

Serving as a springboard to the future, ConnectSmart will link more communities and provide multiple mobility options besides driving alone. ConnectSmart has made the Houston region less congested and more connected -- and an even better place to live and work.


For more information, please visit the official website: www.houstonconnectsmart.com


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