Cesar Chavez Innovative Congestion Relief Study

When a bottleneck built up to the point that it was causing significant traffic congestion along Cesar Chavez Street in Austin, Alliance was called in to help find a solution.

The intersections of Cesar Chavez at S. Congress Ave and at Brazos Street needed improvements. Our team of experts conducted their research, analyzed the situation, and developed a unique, low-cost alternative that resulted in vastly improved traffic flow.

Our first step was to determine the impact of the traffic situation. Our research team collected AM and PM peak hour turning movement counts at both intersections and performed vehicle travel time runs. We then developed models of the intersections using Synchro that showed the potential options:

  • No build
  • Left turn trap lanes
  • Reversible lane
  • Dual westbound left turns at Congress
  • Dual westbound left turn at Congress with a PM lane control sign
  • Shared thru-left westbound at Congress with a PM lane control sign

In high traffic areas, safety is of huge concern to all stakeholders as well as to the Alliance team. We conducted a safety assessment for all modes (passenger car, bus, bicycle, and pedestrian) of Cesar Chavez Street at Congress Avenue and Cesar Chavez at Brazos Street. We also researched planned 2-way conversion projects to assess the possible impact to peak hour volumes as we worked to determine the best option for optimizing traffic flow.

We evaluated a number of possible options, including a reversible lane. However, based on the analysis results, we removed the reversible lane from consideration. We determined that the best, most innovative solution to improve traffic operation was to implement a dynamic lane control sign at the Cesar Chavez at Congress Ave intersection.

Since our work resulted in a budget-friendly answer to the traffic congestion problem, we were also able to evaluate the results through post-implementation data collection. This allowed us to demonstrate that the solution worked. We collected data on peak hour turning movement counts and travel time runs that showed vast improvements in traffic operations after implementation of a dynamic lane control sign.

The low-cost solution improved movement through the previously congested intersection on Cesar Chavez Street!