New app aims to alleviate Houston-area traffic congestion by providing accessible public transit

The new ConnectSmart app can be used to purchase transit tickets, carpool, find parking and access towing services throughout the Houston area.

Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media

Transportation leaders on Friday unveiled a new smartphone app that provides multimodal travel options for the Houston area.

During a launch event at the Ion, Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan said the Houston ConnectSmart app aims to alleviate traffic congestion throughout the region by providing accessible transportation options to users.

“Traffic and congestion are not just a city problem and they’re not just a county problem,” Ryan said. “It’s a Houston-regional concern that has an impact on every commuter — an impact on our public safety.”

The app can be used to purchase transit tickets, facilitate carpooling and bike rentals, find ideal bike routes and available parking, and access towing services throughout the Houston area, according to the app’s website. Additionally, the app is integrated with Houston TranStar to allow users access to roadside video cameras to look at conditions along their route.

The ConnectSmart app will utilize public transit options in Harris, Montgomery, Liberty, Chambers, Galveston, Brazoria, Fort Bend, and Waller counties.

“We’re presenting them (with) options of what they can do to solve congestion with alternative modes,” said TxDOT Transportation Engineer Brenda Bustillos. “Carpool, transit and so forth.”

The app is available for iOS and Android.

ConnectSmart was funded by a combination of local, state, and federal funding. The Federal Highway Administration committed millions of dollars through the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment grant. TxDOT also contributed funds for the app’s implementation.

In a prerecorded video that was played at Friday’s launch event, Mayor Sylvester Turner said the app would help the city of Houston to keep up with rapid population growth.

“As we grow in population density, we are redefining our needs when it comes to the daily commute,” Turner said.

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