Houston Lacking In Transit For No Car Households

While local transit authorities focus on making Houston more commuter friendly. A recent survey shows they're not doing enough.

And how Houston looked, unfortunately it was really not so good.

Adie Tomer is a senior research analyst with the Brookings Institution, a public policy organization based in Washington D.C.  Brookings found Houston came third in a survey on access to transit for no-car households. Atlanta was top of the worst pile and Dallas came second.

Tomer says their figures show a whole load of households are lacking.

“It’s over 120,000 households don’t have a car there and the coverage rate for them is 73%.  By that we mean, the amount of households that live within three quarters of a mile of a transit stop.”

For Tomer the concern wasn’t necessarily the numbers though. He says the deeper question was how these people get around without any kind of transit.

“What do these people do? How do they get to work? More so than just even work how do they go about shopping? If they need to go to the hospital how do they get there?”

The survey covered Houston, Sugar Land and Baytown. While Houston city has about a 98% transit success rate for no-car households Tomer says it’s the suburbs that really flag where we’re lacking. Someone who knows all about this is Patrick Walshe. He’s the Assistant Director of Community Development for Sugar Land.   

“The zip code that has the greatest number of commuters to downtown is 77479, right here in the Sugar Land area. So we think Sugar Land is ready for some improved transit connections directly to downtown.”

Sugar Land just recently completed a mobility plan for transit. Not surprisingly it was this lack of connection to downtown that came up.  While Walshe says they’re a long way from filling that gap, he hopes that adding something like a trolley to local hotspots will give people more options. He believes using a service like this could encourage transit growth and eventually lead to a better score in Brookings next survey.

To view a map by the Brookings Institution, go to Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX Metro Area


Edel Howlin

Edel Howlin

Executive Producer, Special Projects

Edel is an executive producer of special projects working on station-wide, multi-platform initiatives such as DiverseCity and Houston Public Media's political podcast Party Politics. At Houston Public Media, Edel started as a reporter covering veteran issues and the quirkier side of life in Houston. Before her time in public radio she worked for...

More Information