ConnectSmart app to enhance transportation options for Rice community

person driving a car

Houston ConnectSmart, a program deployed by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), is now available to the Rice community to aid transportation sustainability efforts. The app is available for download and will link Owls to create eco-friendly travel options to get to and from campus and around the city. It is available to anyone with a email address.

person driving a car

“ConnectSmart is an app that allows Rice users and people who sign up with their Rice email address to set up carpooling groups as well as figure out alternative means of transportation to and from wherever they’re going,” said Kristianna Bowles, sustainability program coordinator in the Office of Sustainability. “That includes access to the METRORail, bus stops and cycling routes. It’s going to be a good tool for us to promote alternative and sustainable transportation features as well as increase equity, especially around our hourly employees who come in earlier in the morning or who may not have access to a vehicle.”

Rice’s partnership with ConnectSmart launched April 1 as part of the Earth Month Kick-Off Festival, and it serves another important goal for the university: reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere.

As a benefit, Rice allows students access to free or subsidized Metro QCards. However, for those who do not have a QCard, public transportation tickets may be purchased in the app when traveling around Houston.

The ConnectSmart app gives students a chance to move beyond the hedges and explore the rich diversity of Houston’s offerings.

“Rice’s students are located in the heart of one of the largest cities in the country, so this helps foster students’ ability to explore Houston’s culture through foods, the arts and public events,” Bowles said.

For more information about ConnectSmart, visit