FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Ines Sigel, LINK Houston, (713) 353-4604 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Houston, TX – LINK Houston’s Equity in Transit: 2021 study found that 891,000 people in Houston live in areas that need disproportionately high and strategic investments in affordable transportation to reach opportunities. The report updates the quantitative data in the Transportation Equity Demand Index (TEDI), a metric first developed by LINK Houston in 2018 comprising 15 different built environment and socioeconomic indicators to identify locations for more equitable transit investments.
“This year’s TEDI analysis shows an increase of 24,000 people and 4-square miles compared to the 2020 study, clearly indicating transportation officials must swiftly prioritize improvements and additional investments in affordable transportation options in these high-demand areas to help ensure Houstonians can access their daily destinations like jobs, grocery stores, and other necessities,” said Ines Sigel LINK Houston’s interim executive director.
In addition to the quantitative data analysis, the report explores qualitative data from a case study focused on six neighborhoods in northeast Houston. Portions of each community have pronounced demand for equity based on the TEDI analysis. The data analysis shows that bus riders in northeast Houston persisted on traveling on the bus during the COVID-19 pandemic at higher rates compared to METRO-at-large; ridership in April 2020 was 50% of April 2019, compared to 43% on bus system-wide. Furthermore, residents in the area have been organizing for years to address many issues they face, including advocating for improved transit services. For the case study, LINK Houston formed a Community Research Team (CRT) with civic leaders and active bus riders to develop the 2021 Houston Bus Rider survey. The team worked with volunteers to interview bus riders along the 14 routes in northeast Houston.
Kashmere Gardens Super Neighborhood President and Community Research Team member Keith Downey notes that “thousands of people in underserved communities depend on public transportation for work and to receive resources.” He urges METRO and partners to “invest in a system that will provide transit equity for all residents regardless of age, race, or class.”
Based on the feedback form the 2021 Bus Rider Survey, transit users in northeast Houston expressed clear expectations for bus service to return in full force and be further improved in a variety of ways. The report provides recommendations for infrastructure and physical improvement as well as service quality improvements:
Infrastructure and Physical Improvements
- Continuing universal accessibility improvements
- Enhancing practical access to transit stops
- Creating more comfortable and green transit stops
Service Quality Improvements
- Restoring and adding frequency
- Extending span of service
- Improving reliability
- Enhancing customer service and safety
- Expanding transit network coverage
LINK Houston urges METRO, local and regional partners to continue to prioritize investments in the TEDI high-demand areas and include active riders and community residents in every step of decision-making to ensure improvements to affordable transportation and street infrastructure advance equity for thousands of Houstonians.
LINK Houston is a non-profit organization that advocates for a robust and equitable transportation network so that all people can reach opportunity. For more information, please visit www.linkhouston.org.
December 7, 2021