The Urban Information Lab at the University of Texas at Austin in collaboration with the City of Austin Transportation Department aims at providing a sustainable, scalable, and transferable proof of concept for addressing the spatial mismatch between housing affordability and jobs by co-creating a Community Hub for Smart Mobility (CHSM) in vulnerable neighborhoods with civic partners. The spatial mismatch between housing affordability and jobs causes commuter traffic congestion resulting in an annual $29 billion loss to the U.S. economy alone. Rather than a one-size-fits-all solution, this grant will provide a sustainable, scalable, and transferrable method for local communities to co-create solutions that meet their needs and align with their values. CHSMs will be community-level hubs where residents can access multiple modes of transport such as shared (e-)bikes, e-scooters, ride hailing, electric vehicle charging stations, and public transit. It will provide more mobility options to residents, increase their access to jobs, ameliorate existing transit deserts, and improve the efficiency of the overall transportation system. The CHSM concept will likely benefit all kinds of communities, with the greatest benefits going to those who are most underserved by the current transportation system and most under-resourced due to the job/housing mismatch. The results and findings from this project will provide new insights into how to improve residents’ mobility in vulnerable neighborhoods and alleviate the job/housing mismatch nationwide.
The goal of this project is to develop, implement, and evaluate a Community Hub for Smart Mobility (CHSM) to solve the job/housing mismatch in US cities. The research team will focus on Georgian Acres, a historically under-resourced neighborhood in northeast Austin, Texas and work with multiple civic partners to address the unique transportation needs of the neighborhood. The project will be carried out through the following five thrusts: 1. Co-Designing the GA-CHSM with the Georgian Acres (GA) Neighborhood, 2. Co-Developing the GA-CHSM, 3. Co-Operating the CHSM with Civic Partners, 4. Evaluating the GA-CHSM’s Impacts, and 5. Scaling and transferring the CHSM concept through the City of Austin’s Project Connect. Both quantitative (e.g., GIS analysis, transportation modeling, machine learning) and qualitative (e.g., interviews, surveys, focus groups) research methods will be used in this project to evaluate the success of the CHSM. These findings will contribute to the literatures on transportation planning, community planning, and participatory design and will serve as a model for tackling the job/housing mismatch through community-based mobility solutions.
Check the link below (and view the slides on the righthand side) to view the recent session that was held and that provided updates regarding the Community Mobility Hub https://assets.adobe.com/public/d65cfb81-331b-4412-54bd-227223127694/Smart%20Hub%20Webinar%2003-05-2022/Smart%20Hub%20Webinar%2003-05-2022%20FINAL%20FIX.mp4
Civic Innovation Challenge Project Showcase
Last Wednesday teams traveled to Washington D.C. to present the accomplishments of their 1-year grant period pilots with NSF. The majority of the presentation topics targeted social justice, environmental justice or mobility justice. Our team was last to present NSF, Department of Energy and Department of Transportation leaders, closing the conference with a conversation on transportation equity in under-resourced transit deserts. It was one of the only projects with a physical component like the SmartHub. We returned to Austin motivated and ready to continue innovating!
Smart Mobility Hub
Mid-Term Construction Update
The SmartHub is on track for completed construction between the end of September and the middle of October. Jail to Jobs and City of Austin are working hard to clean the site and finish the remaining construction. The SmartHub site currently has temporary benches in place that will soon be replaced with new LED benches for community members to use. Alongside completed construction, the SmartHub will officially host e-bikes and e-scooters for increased access to micro-mobility in Georgian Acres.
We are pleased to share the exciting news that groundwork on the Smart Mobility Hub in the Georgian Acres neighborhood has officially begun! The City’s contractors began work on 3/28/2022, along E. Wonsley Drive (as seen in the pictures below). The Hub construction work will require a few weeks to be completed, after which our team will install temporary furniture and equipment needed for the functioning of the Hub. We are pleased to see the Hub come to life, as it will be a great addition to the community. Stay tuned for updates!
In-person Event at the Gus Garcia Recreation Center
The photos below are from Saturday 4/2/2022 event at the Gus Garcia Recreation Center, where community members and project partners heard a project update from the City, UT, and Jail to Jobs. This presentation was followed by an opportunity for attendees to view one of the neighborhood shuttle vehicles as well as ride e-bikes and e-scooters for the first time in a traffic-free environment.
In–person Event: Gethsemane Food Pantry 2021