About AARO

AARO takes a long-term, systemic view of the questions and issues shaping our region today. By asking big beautiful questions, we imagine, research, and test possibilities that can shape our region in positive ways for decades to come.


Our Approach

AARO engages the many spheres of influence, communities and jurisdictions of Central Texas to understand the interdependency of the issues in its research.

We are powered by round-table discussions among our thought leaders and by solid, thoughtful research into the thorniest of issues.

Membership is drawn from leaders throughout the region to bring diverse viewpoints to the table.

Our Priorities

AARO research leads the way to the future. Our focus areas of education, health, regional vision, social equity, transportation and water are just a starting point. Committees often see, and follow, an issue as it intersects with others while seeking regional threads of commonality to identify potential solutions.

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    How do we help the Class of 2050 learn and prepare for their future?

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    How can the region support better health outcomes for all Central Texans?

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  • Icon equity

    Social Equity

    What are the systemic challenges driving housing unaffordability in Central Texans?

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  • Icon road


    How do we best enhance regional mobility through targeted investment in infrastructure and systems?

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    How can AARO influence the long-term affordability, quality and accessibility of water for all Central Texans?

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  • Icon vision

    Regional Vision

    What is the region’s shared strategic Vision for Central Texas through the year 2050?

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AARO's Influence Timeline


AARO Supports Creation of Texas Water Fund

The Texas Water Fund is a crucial mechanism to address water infrastructure challenges across all of Texas, Central Texas included.  The November 2023 Constitutional Amendment to create the Texas Water Fund is an important step to unlock new capital for future improvements in water infrastructure projects, increase public awareness, adopt water conservation strategies, and support water loss mitigation projects.

The AARO membership strongly supports the creation, funding, goals, and objectives of the Texas Water fund and urges voters across the state to vote on amending the constitution on November 7th, 2023.

Read AARO's Statement of Support for Proposition 6
PC speakers elected officials

Addressing Cancer Together

AARO and a 40-member coalition of regional partners entrust implementation of the six-year initiative, Addressing Cancer Together, to United Way for Greater Austin.

AARO's 40th Anniversary

COVID-19, support for an expanded transit system, and an anti-racism commitment mark AARO’s 40th anniversary year.

Read Statement Supporting Proposition A

AARO and Business Leaders Study Mental Health in the Workplace

AARO convenes more than 100 regional business leaders to study Mental Health Myths, Facts and Workplace Solutions.
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AARO Helps Increase Enrollment in Free Pre-K

AARO develops a framework to increase enrollment in free Pre-K for eligible students in Central Texas.

Related Research

AARO Helps Influence Establishment of Dell Medical School at UT Austin

AARO work to influence healthcare decision-makers and policy leaders over many years leads to the initiative that establishes the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin.

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AARO Advocates for Career Expressways at ACC

AARO successfully advocates for the adoption of Career Expressways at Austin Community College.

AARO Research Helps Increase Affordable Housing Supply

AARO research leads the City of Austin to approve bonds and policy changes to increase its affordable housing supply.

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AARO Creates the McBee Fellowship

AARO creates the McBee Fellowship program to cultivate the civic interest of up-and-coming leaders throughout the region.

AARO Creates E3 Alliance

AARO creates and spins off the E3 Alliance, a regional, data-driven education collaborative working together to achieve lasting systemic change.

AARO Research Helps Create Central Health

AARO research leads to the creation of Central Health, the Travis County healthcare district to improve the health of the community by caring for those who need it most.

Regional Mobility Authority Comes to Texas

AARO support brings Regional Mobility Authorities, and subsequently the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, to life in the state of Texas.

50-Year Water Supply Deal Negotiated

AARO works to persuade LCRA and the City of Austin to negotiate a 50-year water supply deal.

AARO Supports Right-of-Way Acquisition

AARO publicly supports SH-130 toll way right-of-way acquisition.

AARO and Leadership Austin Join Causes

AARO and Leadership Austin join to run a public service preparation seminar open to prospective elected office candidates.

AARO Establishes Qualifications for AISD Trustees

AARO convenes 20 stakeholders to establish qualifications for AISD trustees.

AARO Helps Extend MoPac

AARO leads the advocacy work for approval of the northern and southern extensions of MoPac.

AARO Helps Launch ACC

AARO galvanizes business community support for passage of a 5-cent property tax to fund and launch Austin Community College independently of AISD.

The Inception of AARO

AARO is founded in 1980.

Vision, Mission, and Shared Values

AARO envisions Central Texas as an exemplary region: dynamic, thriving and sustainable for all.

Through thoughtful, deliberative dialogue and study, our mission is to engage committed leaders in advancing regional solutions to benefit the long-term economic and social well-being of Central Texas.


Our Values

AARO Members:

  • Icon success Act as stewards for the greater common good
  • Icon team 02 Lead with integrity – individually and collectively
  • Icon communities Establish and nurture relationships
  • Icon coaching Think and act systemically, considering the interdependency of issues
  • Icon idea Engage in collaborative efforts that honor the wisdom inside and outside of AARO

We strive to be:

  • Knowledgeable
  • Inclusive
  • Bold
  • Humble
  • Courageous
  • Open-minded
  • Thoughtful
  • Fair

AARO Race Equity Pledge

  • We will not run from the uncomfortable conversations. In fact, we will become comfortable being uncomfortable.
  • We will honor, believe and elevate those with lived experience with racism and inequities.
  • We will seek out, support and engage organizations that promote social justice and racial equity across our priority areas.
  • We will stand up, speak up and act up when we see injustice.
  • We will review the recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities and other sources relating to our priority areas.
  • We will shift from shaking our heads in disbelief, to lifting our voices in opposition.
  • We will shift from avoiding racism to confronting it.
  • We will shift from simply being non-racist to being anti-racist.

AARO's Armillary

An armillary is a celestial framework. It is included in AARO’s identity to remind us to:

  • Set our sights on the horizon.

  • Use science and data to light the way.

  • Work in close orbit with one another to identify solutions to the region’s challenges.

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