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Texans on Transportation, and Print vs. Digital Research: Houston Matters for Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s policy research center recently completed its first Texas Transportation Poll. Researchers wanted to understand the attitudes and behaviors of Texans towards transportation. Some results won’t surprise you: three out of four respondents say there’s too much traffic in their neighborhoods. While 90 percent of Texans own or lease a vehicle. […]

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s policy research center recently completed its first Texas Transportation Poll. Researchers wanted to understand the attitudes and behaviors of Texans towards transportation. Some results won’t surprise you: three out of four respondents say there’s too much traffic in their neighborhoods. While 90 percent of Texans own or lease a vehicle. And over a 30 day period, when there was someplace they needed to be, only a quarter of Texans ever used public transportation of any kind.

When we discuss Houston’s traffic nightmares, invariably, it’s suggested that we need to expand our public transit options dramatically. But if we aggressively expanded light rail and bus service to every corner of Greater Houston, would it really make a dent in our daily commute? Or is complaining about traffic a Houston pastime that we’re not really interested in giving up, because, frankly, we’d rather just keep our cars and trucks?

On this edition of Houston Matters, we consider what this recent study tells us about our attitudes towards transportation, and consider whether dramatic expansion of public transit would influence those attitudes. We’ll welcome your questions and comments for Ginger Goodin, the Director of TTI’s Transportation Policy Research Center, and Andrea French, Executive Director of the Transportation Advocacy Group’s Houston region.

Also this hour: In this digital age of ours, some of us will roll our eyes a bit when we see someone print out an article they can just as easily read on their computer or tablet or smart phone. Turns out – at least according to a recent University of Houston study – they may be onto something. It could be that people who regularly read the printed word on a physical page may, in fact, recall more information than those who typically only read material on a screen.

According to Dr. Arthur Santana, an assistant professor in the Jack. J. Valenti School of Communication at UH and principal investigator of the study, “In essence, print newspapers are a more effective medium than online newspapers at spurring recollection.” We talk with Dr. Santana about his study.

And we pay a visit to the Saint Francis Wolf Sanctuary in Montgomery.

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