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 will provide end users with available and personalized intermodal travel mode 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.
In an effort to deploy an innovative solution that contribute to optimizing available capacity while managing demand variabilities, ConnectSmart integrates the region’s Transportation Systems Management and Operations and Active Demand Management with intermodal travel options to optimize available capacity while managing region’s demand needs of the ATCMTD grant program.
Implementing ConnectSmart entails:
- the integration of various advanced mobility technologies and data sources to provide predictive and reliable trip information
- promotion of currently available and emerging sustainable mobility options
- user engagement via behavior changing techniques
- enhancement and strengthening of working partnerships as Houston regional transportation agencies unite to manage current and future mobility needs
For the end user, the traveling public, the result is a seamless intermodal trip planning resource which integrates a wide-array of transportation services, including transit ticketing and payment, bikesharing, vanpooling, parking information, and tow requests.
To communicate and sustain the regional expected transportation benefits from the deployment of the various technologies, ConnectSmart will implement a robust marketing, communications, and agency partner and stakeholder engagement effort. The ConnectSmart team will also document and share 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 mobile app is available for free download in the Apple and Android app stores. The ConnectSmart app will undergo various app software version tests, including a Pioneer phase with a limited number of users recruited from the general public and conducting utilizing the ConnectSmart app. The feedback received from the Pioneer users, will be used to further enhance the ConnectSmart app. The Pioneer phase is expected to continue in the near term, with the ConnectSmart app’s full deployment Summer/Fall 2022.
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.