Project Connect

Project information
Austin, Texas
Austin Transit Partnership

Project Connect isn’t just infrastructure… It’s a sign of where our values are.

Adam Greenfield
Executive Director of Rethink-35
Project Summary

America's newest transit system

The city of Austin is growing rapidly and grappling with issues of access to opportunity and affordability. To support this growth and expand the reach of local culture, nature, and the things that people need and love about Austin, the city is planning a new light rail system that will be a portal into Texas’ capital and provide sustainable modes of transit across the city.

The Austin Transit Partnership hired Gehl along with our collaborators HKS and UN Studio to design a human-centered light rail system that drives high ridership and supports a vision for where Austin is headed: a thriving twenty-first century city with a unique and beloved culture. Gehl worked closely with the client, engineering teams, partner agencies, core stakeholders, and a series of focus groups to deliver a Research and Vision document that communicates the intent of the system to the public, and guides design teams to create a system built around human comfort, human behavior, and public life.

Gehl led an innovative research approach to arrive at the vision for ATP. The team integrated detailed experience-focused site understandings (from shade and sidewalk quality to public art and local culture) with detailed public life counts and cognitive experience mapping in hot and mild climates to provide a rich and people-focused picture of the opportunities and challenges of transit in Austin. The team synthesized the analysis into a series of user personas and journeys, a vision, user needs, and performance-based design principles. 

Gehl continues to collaborate with the team partners through concept design, paying special attention to last-mile connections, urban integration, user experience design, and integrating community input into the plans using a co-creative process.

For more information, visit the Project Connect website.

The Impact

At its best, Project Connect [is] emblematic of the spirit of the city and [will] elevate the culture and community of Austin.

Anna Muessig
Team Director at Gehl
Video Project Connect (3:41)

Gehl worked closely with the client, engineering teams, researchers and policymakers from partner city agencies, and a series of focus groups to develop key user personas which drove a vision and design brief for the station system design manual.

Get in touch

Want to know more about this project?

Team Director US Cities
Anna Muessig
Geoff Dyck
Our services

Delivering impact through a multidisciplinary approach


Inclusive engagement that meets people where they are. Listening to the community through research to build trust and better shape the environment to its users and visitors.

Transportation & Mobility

Mobility is a key driver of urban transformation and quality of life. By approaching transportation and mobility challenges from a people-first perspective we help clients prioritize the human experience in everything from city-wide strategies to street corner improvements.