ConnectSmart: Making Houston More Connected and Less Congested
TxDOT Houston District’s ConnectSmart Program (ConnectSmart) received a USDOT Fast Act Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) grant to deploy an advanced technology platform with a built-in intermodal mobile app to improve safety, reduce congestion, improve air quality, and create a more accessible and equitable system promoting TxDOT’s and USDOT’s goals.
The ConnectSmart mobile app provides end users with available and personalized intermodal travel options, transportation system updates, predictive travel times, intermodal navigation, travel costs, transit ticket purchase, and more while influencing traveler behavior in real-time to encourage the use of alternative mobility options and achieve operational objectives.
The innovative solution contributes to optimizing available capacity while managing demand variabilities. In addition to capacity expansion, emerging mobility capacity is recognized as a core ConnectSmart management strategy.
The platform integrates the region’s Transportation Systems Management and Active Demand Management with intermodal travel options. It also integrates regional traffic and transportation data from TranStar, the region’s traffic incident management center, transit agencies, the City of Houston, BCycle, and parking.
For the end user, the traveling public, ConnectSmart functions as a Mobility as a Service platform. It places seamless intermodal trip planning with transit ticketing and payment, bike sharing, parking information, tow requests and more directly into the hands of the traveling public. The following figure highlights the prominent features that have been introduced into the ConnectSmart platform through March 2023.
To communicate and sustain the regional expected transportation benefits from the deployment of the various technologies, ConnectSmart is currently implementing a robust marketing, communications, and agency partner and stakeholder engagement effort. In preparation for the upcoming year-one anniversary of the launch in Fall 2023, the project team is also documenting and sharing processes, technologies, successes, and lessons learned for other federal, state, regional, and local agencies to follow if they are interested in undertaking similar deployments.
ConnectSmart’s App covers the six county Houston District service area, as well as Liberty and Chambers counties located in the Beaumont District service area. Collectively these eight counties are the Houston-Galveston Transportation Management Area. Users can use ConnectSmart’s App to plan your door-to-door trip, find multimodal options, be navigated to your destinations, purchase transit tickets, carpool, and more throughout the eight-county county Houston-Galveston region.