TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Traffic congestion inHouston area remains among country’sworst
COMPILED BY ANDY YANEZ & HANNAH ZEDAKER
UNION PACIFIC CORP. RAILROAD
HOUSTON COMMUTER DELAYS The average commuter spent 27 fewer hours delayed in Houston-area traffic in 2020 than in 2019.
A study released by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute showed commuters in the Houston area saw decreases to their travel time, costs and stress levels in 2020. When com- pared nationally, however, Houston commuters still dealt with more traffic challenges than other U.S. cities. The TTI released its 2021 Urban Mobility Report on June 29, evaluating the 2020 traffic patterns of 494 cities across the U.S. and focusing on 101 urban areas. One of the urban areas was the Greater Houston area, which comprises Harris County and parts of Fort Bend, Brazoria, Waller, Montgom- ery, Chambers, Liberty and Galveston counties, TTI Senior Research Scientist David Schrank said. According to the national report, Houston ranked third in the number of hours each driver was delayed on the road, second when it came to extra fuel wasted by traffic congestion and fifth in annual congestion costs per driver in 2020. All rankings are increases from 2019. “This was the year where you saw different cities change dramatically,” Schrank said. However, when comparing Hous- ton’s 2020 traffic data to its own from 2019, the delays and congestion costs improved. Drivers traveled fewer hours in 2020 than the year before— from 76 annual hours of delay per commuter in 2019 to 46 hours in 2020. Annual congestion cost—which is a value of time and fuel spent in delays— also dropped from $1,635 per com- muter in 2019 to $1,097 per commuter in 2020, according to the report. “I think Houston’s very diverse economy shows up [in the rankings],”
RUSSELL PALMER RD.
80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
Northpark Drive overpass Construction on a project to expand Northpark Drive from four to six lanes between Hwy. 59 and Russell Palmer Road and add an overpass over the railroad, has been delayed. According to Ralph De Leon, administrator of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Author- ity and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone 10, construction is now slated to begin this winter due to challenges as- sociated with right-of-way acquisition. Timeline: winter 2021-winter 2024 Cost: $52 million Funding source: LHRA (TIRZ 10)
39.5% per commuter from 2019 to 2020 Annual congestion cost dropped
SOURCE: TEXAS A&M TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE’S 2021 URBAN MOBILITY REPORT/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
Schrank said. “You have a mix of high tech and manufacturing or all the energy sector jobs. ... So as things change across the nation, I think the Houston area isn’t as dramatically affected by any one change because of diversity.” Pandemic effects Other factors that played into Houston rising in the national rankings for traffic-related issues were stricter and longer lockdown restrictions put in place by other states that kept drivers off the road in cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle, Schrank said. Additionally, continued transpor- tation activity in the Port of Houston as well as other industries such as petroleum during the pandemic were also players in keeping Houston’s roads congested with traffic. Houston ranked fourth in the nation in both hours of delay truck drivers saw and annual truck congestion
cost, which is not only explained by the need to transport goods from those industries, but also the goods needed to reach private residences and businesses, Schrank said. Despite the national rankings, Schrank said Houston has done a good job handling traffic-reducing solutions by diversifying its trans- portation options, which include freeways, high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and public transportation such as the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County’s bus routes and METRORail. “Houston is doing some of the things we have been recommending for decades,” Schrank said. As COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift, traffic issues are expected to rise. How long it takes to reach 2019 levels and surpass them, however, TTI officials are unsure. Factors such as teleworking, the economy and tourism will play a role, Schrank said.
ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF SEPT. 21. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT LHKNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. Funding sources: Harris County Pre- cinct 4, Harris County Water Control Improvement District No. 96, Fall Creek Homeowners Association Mesa Drive Segment 2 expansion Harris County officials are studying a project to add two travel lanes to Mesa Drive from Tributary P133-00-00 to Monarch Lane with improved drain- age. The project is in the final stages of the study phase and commissioners court will consider the project study for approval in October. Timeline: TBD Cost: $1.5 million
I N- STORE & ONL I NE
TWO OR MORE BOTTLES OF SOURCED WI NE *
*Twin Sourced Wine Sale runs 10/1-10/23. Discount applies to two or more bottles of sourced wine. No further discount on Sale Items, Final Few, or Closeouts. Sale valid in-store and online at www.twinliquors.com. Some exclusions apply. Please drink responsibly.
LAKE HOUSTON - HUMBLE - KINGWOOD EDITION • SEPTEMBER 2021
Powered by FlippingBook