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Access to transit in Houston

From the Chron’s Newswatch blog:

Houston ranks third from the bottom among the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas in the number of households with no cars and no access to public transit, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

Released today, the report “Transit Access and Zero-Vehicle Households” found that about 32,630 households in the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown area have no vehicles and aren’t served by public transit.


Today’s report is the first in a series of three studies that are follow-ups to Brookings’ report in May, “Missed Opportunity: Transit and jobs in Metropolitan America,” which looked at how well transit services connect workers to existing jobs.

Houston also fared poorly in that study, ranking 72nd among 100 metropolitan areas, chiefly due to its low transit access – just 44 percent of working-age residents live near a transit stop, compared with a national average of 69 percent.

You can see the current study here. My first reaction on seeing this was to presume that the distribution of these households that are not near transit is not uniform. The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown MSA is considerably larger than Metro’s service area, and while there are non-Metro transit options out there, I think it’s fair to say that they are fewer and farther between. If you look at this chart from the study, you will see that my presumption was correct. I don’t know how exactly they defined “city”, “metro”, and “suburb” for this graphic, but ninety-eight percent of zero-car households in the city are near a transit stop, compared to 73% for metro and 27% for suburb. Ninety percent of other households in the city are similarly located, compared to 44% for metro and 15% for suburb. The issue isn’t with Houston proper, in other words. I doubt that tells you anything you didn’t already suspect, but there you have the numbers anyway.

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One Comment

  1. Greg Wythe says:

    It’d be more informative if they looked at how well the individual service areas covered their region. Houston has a pretty good public transit system. The Woodlands, Baytown, League City and Sugar Land … not so much.