City of Austin Performance Report 2015-16

Percent of Residents "Satisfied" or "Very Satisfied" with Traffic Flow on Major Streets 

Measure Description
This measure is a key indicator calculated using the annual City of Austin Community Survey. The primary objective of the survey is to assist in decision-making by providing data on residents’ perceptions, opinions, and usage of specific City divisions and services. A random sample of addresses within the city limits are selected and used as a representative sample of the general population of the city. The representative sample includes roughly 200 respondents from each council district.  Satisfaction with traffic flow is an indirect indicator on how successful the City is in optimizing operations (e.g., signal timing) and minimizing impediments (e.g., lane closures) to traffic flow on major streets.
Calculation Method
This measure is the sum of “very satisfied” and “satisfied” responses divided by the total number of respondents who reported an opinion. The measure excludes those who left the question blank or reported “don’t know”.   
FY 2015-16 Results
Satisfaction with traffic flow decreased to 10%, and remains below the stated goal of 30%. The 30% goal is one percent above the national satisfaction average for large cities (population ≥ 500,000).
Assessment of Results
Resident satisfaction with traffic flow on major streets in Austin remains low and continues to trend downward. The primary reasons for this trend are likely due in part to a variety of factors.  Austin’s immense population growth brings more travel on major streets and consequently, more congestion.  Additionally, redevelopment projects occur throughout Austin, with many projects adjacent to major streets. These projects typically require lane closures to safely facilitate construction and utility improvements.  Although the Austin Transportation Department (ATD) works with developers to minimize lane closure impacts, those traveling on major streets still experience the related congestion. Lastly, roughly 100 special events occur each year in downtown Austin. These events require lane closures and generate substantial pedestrian volumes along major streets.
Next Steps
Reversing the downward trend in citizen satisfaction with traffic flow is a multi-agency issue. ATD addresses traffic flow on signalized arterial streets by aiming to retime all traffic signals every 3 years (nationally recommended practice). In the last two years, ATD has added more staff to bring staffing levels closer to the recommended level. This upcoming year, ATD plans to add an additional engineer which will allow ATD to meet the recommended practice of retiming signals once every three years. ATD developed and implemented notification procedures for all existing and future lane closure permits on major streets.
In addition, the recent approval of the $720 million transportation bond will target various areas throughout the city to improve traffic flow. As part of that bond program, ATD is developing the framework for implementing improvements that will utilize $482 million and $101 million of the funds for corridor improvements respectively and regional roadway improvements on State of Texas roadways.
Contact Information
For more information contact Robert Spillar, P.E., Transportation Director at (512) 974-2488.