The Real World: Capital Metro

The Real World: Capital Metro

Special guest post by John Julitz, Capital Metro.

This is the true story of Capital Metro’s efforts to provide the best transit experience for the people of Central Texas. Find out what happens when a transit agency works with the community and starts getting real.

If those words sound familiar, it stands to reason you watched MTV’s “The Real World” at some point. Although we won’t debate how real reality television truly is, one thing that is certain is Capital Metro is keepin’ it real.

GetReal_WebBannerAnyone who has ridden MetroRail or MetroRapid has become accustomed to having real-time information at their fingertips. While we love MetroRail (you do too as ridership has quadrupled since launching in 2010) and MetroRapid (they still have that new bus smell), the heart of our operation remains MetroBus. The community wanted real-time data system-wide and we’ve delivered.

Launched in February, real-time departure information is now available for every single Capital Metro vehicle.

The real-time data is enabled by GPS technology, which signals a minute-by-minute countdown at each bus stop for the next three departures. This information allows Capital Metro to more accurately track every bus on every route, every day.

Practically, this means our customers now have added reliability when traveling. Real-time helps take the guessing game out of trip planning. You can use the CapMetro app or and in an instant you’ll know where your vehicle is. No more playing the waiting game (wouldn’t you rather play Hungry, Hungry Hippos anyway?).

Real-Time App IntranetHowever, we went a step further. As we were launching the real-time initiative, Capital Metro released its real-time data via an Open Data Portal. The data, available at, the city of Austin and state of Texas websites, will enable external developers to create innovative new apps that will benefit the riding public.

The launch of real-time information comes at a time when real-time is no longer a luxury, but an expectation. According to a 2013 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) report, “Millennials and Mobility,” commuters age 18-34 rated the availability of real-time updates as the second highest priority they would like to see added to transit offerings over the next decade.

Real-time data along with our mobile ticketing option, which has won both state and national awards, have helped Austin clinch the top ranking among 19 “Abundant Choices” cities by the Innovative Transportation Index.

Real-time is just the next frontier in Capital Metro’s ongoing push to become more innovative. Other recent efforts include providing Wi-Fi on all MetroRail and MetroRapid vehicles and working with the city of Austin to implement traffic signal priority that allows MetroRapid vehicles to hold traffic lights green if they are running late.

Going forward, we will continue to offer new, innovative services and features to enhance our offerings while improving the rider’s experience.

In the words of Walt Disney, “We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Capital Metro will continue to explore new paths. Our journey has just begun.