Houston Matters

Would More Public Transit Even Make a Difference in Houston’s Traffic Problems?

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 […]

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?

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.

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