It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Houston Mayor: Texas Needs a New Transportation Paradigm

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner:
TxDOT has noted that 97% of the Texans currently drive a single occupancy vehicle for their daily trips. One could conclude that our agencies should therefore focus their resources to support these kinds of trips. However, this approach is actually exacerbating our congestion problems. We need a paradigm shift in order to achieve the kind of mobility outcomes we desire.


The Katy Freeway, or Interstate 10 west of Houston, is the widest freeway in the world, with up to 26 lanes including frontage road lanes. The 2008 widening had a significant impact on the adjacent businesses and communities. Yet, despite all these lanes, in 2015 the section of this freeway near Beltway 8 was identified as the 8th most congested roadway in the state. This was only 7 years after being reconstructed! This example, and many others in Houston and around the state, have clearly demonstrated that the traditional strategy of adding capacity, especially single occupant vehicle capacity on the periphery of our urban areas, exacerbates urban congestion problems. These types of projects are not creating the kind of vibrant, economically strong cities that we all desire.


Tom said...

I've lived in New York, San Francisco, London, Turin, Shanghai and now Taipei. Transportation was worst in San Francisco, second worst in Turin. In both cases the lack of a good Metro contributed mightily to their problems. Both have since started building a Metro system. It will be interesting to see the results.

I believe the Katy freeway serves the George Bush International Airport. I would recommend planners look at the Heathrow Express for inspiration and perhaps use that as a starting point.

Michael Tobis said...

I don't really understand why tunnels are better than elevated systems, but it's clear to me that rapid transit solutions at grade with automobile traffic just can't possibly work at scale.

Where's my monorail?