Austin knows it has a transportation problem, and leaders are trying to find solutions and fit them into a plan that integrates technology and transportation.
On Tuesday, United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx weighed in on Austin's plan so far and the city's recent vote that led to Uber and Lyft leaving town.
"The two biggest challenges we have in the city, I think, are affordability and mobility and I think those two challenges are linked," said Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
Many in Austin wonder whether our chances of winning the $40 million Smart City Challenge are in jeopardy after voters turned down Proposition 1 and Uber and Lyft left town.
"I wouldn't be here if Austin wasn't a strong contender in the challenge," said Foxx. "That remains true and it will stay true, depending on the application that comes and I'm looking forward to see what Austin wants to do when it grows up."
"I am not concerned that the Uber and Lyft election takes us out of running on the Smart Challenge," Adler said. "You heard the Secretary give you that answer and frankly, when we were alone I asked him that question point blank myself."
"We have an ordinance in our city that does not stop any TNC from operating here, today, including Uber and Lyft," said Mayor Adler. "There is absolutely no governmental, regulatory reason they could not be here today. They have chose to leave. We can't control that, but we do need TNC technology operating in our city."
Other apps and services like Get Me, Wingz and Arcade City are working to fill the void left by Uber and Lyft, but it could be a bumpy road until the city and TNC companies find middle ground.
"It's going to be an awkward transition time as we go from where we were in a couple of weeks ago, to where we will be in a couple weeks from now," Adler said. He added it has been several days since he's spoken with Uber or Lyft representatives.
The winner of the Smart City Challenge will be announced by the end of June.