AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Department of Transportation pulled an item from a Monday meeting that, if approved, could’ve paved the way for a dedicated autonomous vehicle roadway in the Austin metro area.
That proposal eyed a stretch of roadway along the abandoned Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MoKan) railway for a possible autonomous vehicle use dedication. The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization was set to discuss the item Monday, but a revised agenda on Thursday stated: “This agenda item will be removed at the request of the TxDOT-Austin District so a full public engagement process can occur.”
It came as TxDOT is analyzing the possible development of a “Connected and Automated Vehicle” facility along the MoKan corridor. On Monday, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization could take action to deem it a principal arterial road poised for development.
Under TxDOT’s feasibility study, the state agency would create the MoCAV corridor, or Mobility for Connected and Automated Vehicles. In layman’s terms, CAVs include vehicles that don’t require a human driver to operate them, per TxDOT’s definition.
The proposal outlined developing a controlled access roadway that would run north to south from U.S. Hwy. 183 in Austin up to the CARTS Georgetown Station at 3620 S. Austin Ave. The corridor would run through Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock and Georgetown.
“Overall, the MoCAV corridor will integrate CAV technology to provide a safe, less congested, and sustainability facility for commuters in this region,” the proposed agenda item reads.
However, based on the project map, it could impact access to the Southern Walnut Creek Trail, a portion of the Walnut Creek regional trail system.
That 7.3-mile trail provides connectivity to several Austin neighborhoods and destinations, including Govalle Park, The YMCA at Hwy. 183, Davis White Park, Walnut Creek Greenbelt, The Austin Tennis Center at the Walnut Creek Sports Park and Phase 1 of the Austin to Manor trail system.