FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HOUSTON – LINK Houston urges Metropolitan Transit Authority (METRO), the City of Houston, Harris County and other local stakeholders to strategically reinvest in the safety, accessibility and resiliency of transit services in Houston using key findings from the Equity in Transit 2022 report and updated 2022 Transportation Equity Demand Index (TEDI).
“There is no one single fix that will solve the many problems that shape the way Houstonians move around,” said Gabe Cazares, Executive Director of LINK Houston. “This report shows that the public is willing to come to the table and talk with elected leaders, METRO officials and others involved to help make all forms of transit better. The 2022 TEDI high-demand areas cover 223 square miles, home to 1.3million people an increase of 80 square miles and 361,000 people from 2021. It is crucial we implement changes now to create a Houston as welcoming as its people.”
METRO ridership was at 75% of pre-pandemic riders in October 2022 but was up 125% of pre-pandemic riders in Gulfton as of April 2022 stop specific data. Gulfton is a diverse area home to many newcomers and refugees who rely on affordable transportation options such as transit to reach services, schools, and jobs. With 50,000 residents located in a little under 3 square miles, Gulfton is the most densely populated area located in the Houston region and in Texas. These factors combined help led to a high demand rating on the TEDI which is comprised of 15 indicators, covering aspects of both personal and community equity. LINK Houston created the index in 2018 to identify locations for more equitable transit investments.
“Gulfton’s charm comes from the diversity of people it is made of – immigrants, refugees, and everyone else that call it home” said Gulfton Super Neighborhood President and Community Research Team member Sandra Rodriguez. “This diversity was important in the way we shaped the bus rider survey and made sure that it was available in the many languages spoken in Gulfton. METRO should take this example and incorporate language justice to all transit information.”
LINK Houston worked with community members to conduct a survey in the neighborhood to understand how residents wanted to improve their experiences reaching their bus stops, improving the bus stops, and making bus service better as a whole. Their recommendations included increasing reliability of information and services (METRO should re-double any existing efforts to align printed, online and day-of schedule so riders can reliably plan and execute trips), restoring and increasing the quantity of 15-minute frequency routes, and invest in transformative, safe, climate-friendly bus stops (pedestrian routes to stops must be accessible, shaded, well-lit and safe).
Full implementation of these recommendations is crucial in preserving the dignity and quality of life for all Houstonians, particularly those located in Gulfton.
The complete Equity in Transit 2022 report will be released at the Burnett Bayland Community Center (6000 Chimney Rock Rd.) Tuesday, January 17th at 11 am. The event will be hybrid and conducted by LINK Houston staff, include a panel presentation with members of our Community Research Team and will conclude at 1 pm. Virtual participation will be held on Zoom.
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.
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