IBM kudos to Houston for minimizing commuter pain
IBM has released its annual Commuter Pain Index
), and despite what you might expect, Houston ranked remarkably well, scoring 17 out of 100, the second-lowest in the index behind Stockholm. In his analysis
, Wendell Cox
has some nice things to say about Houston:
The Houston Advantage: Perhaps the biggest surprise is Houston's favorable traffic congestion ranking.
- Houston has the lowest urban density of the 20 metropolitan areas.
- Houston has the lowest transit market share, by far, at only 1%.
- Houston also has the highest per capita automobile use among the IBM metropolitan areas.
Yet Houston scored better than any metropolitan area on the list except for much smaller Stockholm. As late as 1985, Houston had the worst traffic congestion
in the United States, according to the annual rankings of the Texas Transportation Institute. Public officials, perhaps none more than Texas Highway Commission Chair and later Mayor Bob Lanier led efforts to improve Houston's road capacity, despite explosive population growth. Their initiatives paid off. By 1998, Houston had improved to 16th in traffic congestion in the United States. The population growth has been incessant, so much so that Houston has added more new residents since 1985 than live in Stockholm and more than half as many as live in Melbourne. While Houston had slipped to 11th in traffic congestion by 2007, the recent opening of a widened Katy Freeway and other improvements should keep the traffic moving in Houston better than in virtually all of the world's other large metropolitan areas
It's easy to overlook how easy it is to get around this massive city (outside of rush hour, of course) compared to most other major world metros. It really is remarkable. I'm still in awe every time I drive on the new Katy Freeway. Keeping up this performance is another good reason to push forward with the 290 expansion plans, including the parallel Hempstead Tollway (are you listening, HCTRA?).
Labels: costs of congestion, mobility strategies, rankings