Thursday, March 22, 2007

Uline, Google Transit, #1 growth, IAH, big homes, and Hot Town premiere

It's definitely time to clear out the rapidly accumulating list of small miscellaneous items:
  • Christof has some good new posts on the Universities light rail line options in Neartown and having a one-seat ride from Downtown to Uptown.
  • Speaking of transit, the NY Times had an interesting story on the Google employee shuttle in the SF Bay area - so large it rivals the transit systems of a lot of cities! It's a much-loved amenity by the employees, who can be productive (or not) with their laptops and wireless internet while they ride. I think it's a big real-world endorsement for the mobility solution I've proposed for Houston, we just need collections of employers at job centers (like Westchase, Uptown, Greenway, TMC, etc.) to step up rather than a single employer like Google.
  • The Greater Houston Partnership announced this week that not only did we add more jobs in 2006 (99,100) than any other U.S. metro, we also added 187,380 residents (Census estimates July 2005 to July 2006) to 5.54 million, moving us just ahead of Miami (5.46m) as the sixth-largest metro in the country (behind NYC, LA, Chicago, DFW, and Philly). There's a good chance we'll pass Philly (5.8m) by the 2010 census. Some more details from the Partnership:
Since 2000, the Houston MSA has gained 824,547 residents — a number greater than the total populations of five states and the District of Columbia. The Houston MSA now has more residents than 30 states and the District.

Houston’s growth clearly reflects the influx of residents from southern Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in late August 2005. Over the previous five years, Houston’s annual gains attributable to migration within the United States averaged just 11,200. In this most recent 12 months, net domestic migration soared to nearly 87,000. In Harris County alone, net domestic migration was positive for the first time in many years, reaching nearly 40,000 after net losses averaging nearly 24,000 annually since 2000.

Net international migration, which averaged nearly 42,000 per year over the previous five years, slipped to 39,000 last year. Since the 2000 census, international migration has accounted for 32 percent of change in total population, while domestic migration has contributed 25 percent. The remaining 43 percent is the excess of resident births over resident deaths.

Harris County, which grew 3.3 percent over the most recent year, accounted for 66 percent of population growth in the metropolitan area, but three suburban counties grew faster: Fort Bend, up 5.8 percent; Montgomery, up 5.1 percent; and Brazoria, up 3.6 percent. Among the 247 U.S. counties with populations exceeding 250,000, Fort Bend and Montgomery respectively had the sixth and ninth highest growth rates between 2000 and 2006. Both grew more than twice the 17.5 percent grown of the entire MSA.
  • The Census Bureau also announced that Harris County is #2 in the nation for population growth from 2000 to 2006, with 486K (to 3.9m), behind Maricopa County (Phoenix) with 696K (to 3.8m) - and they're likely to pass us soon for the title of third-largest county in the nation. That's just what happens when you have 9,224 sq.miles of land (!) to grow in vs. 1,778 for us.
  • 2006 airport numbers are out, and thanks to strong economic and population growth, IAH turned in very strong 7.4% growth to 42.6 million passengers. Asian airports are moving up quickly, so our ranking isn't moving much (16th in the world), but we are 7th in the U.S., behind Atlanta, Chicago, LA, DFW, Denver, and Vegas.
  • Zillow released a list of the top 50 streets in America for average house size, and Lazy Lane in River Oaks came in third at 14,525 feet, behind streets in Beverly Hills and Vegas. Don't worry for the owners - I'm sure they have conveniently-located "You are Here" maps and Segways for every visitor...
  • The final cut of the wonderful documentary on Houston, "Hot Town, Cool City" is premiering March 30 thru April 1 at the Museum of Fine Arts. I saw the rough cut last summer, and it'll make you proud to be a Houstonian. A short Google video preview is available here. Buy your tickets before they run out!
Have a great weekend.


At 10:19 AM, March 23, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would sure be sweet to catch Dallas one day in number of passengers. Probably won't happen, but it would help a lot of other things if it did.

At 1:54 PM, March 23, 2007, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

We already beat Dallas in number of nonstop destinations (AA/DFW 159 vs. CAL/IAH 178), especially internationally, which I consider far more important than passenger numbers. We're also extremely close in flights per day (near 800 AA and CAL). Continental just flies smaller planes in most cases (RJs), so we have fewer passengers. DFW is a more centrally located hub in the country, so I think it will almost always have more passengers than IAH, but I'm ok with the smaller crowds - it's the destinations and frequency of service that really matters.

At 6:52 PM, March 23, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody have the stats on total air passengers


At 7:25 PM, March 23, 2007, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

IAH 42.5m
HOU 8.6m
Total 51.1m

DFW 60m
Love 6.9m
Total 66.9m

At 3:25 PM, March 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to know. Perhaps once Continental gets those coveted European airports, we will be seen as having better air connections overall than Dallas.

At 4:19 PM, March 24, 2007, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Like I said before, I think we already do have better air connections than Dallas - but I'm not sure what the public perception is. The European open skies deal will help us in one *big* way (access to London Heathrow on both BA and CAL), but I don't see any new European routes other than that. We're already connected into the big 4 European hubs (London, Amsterdam, Paris, and Frankfurt). There's not enough traffic to other European cities to justify a nonstop - it almost always makes more sense to connect through Newark. Longer term, we *might* get connections to Madrid (Iberia hub) and/or Milan (Alitalia hub), but those seem unlikely any time soon. CAL has a lot of nice 787s on order, but I think almost all of them will offer new international service from Newark instead of Houston - it's a bigger market by far, has better geographic positioning, and offers more connecting opportunities.

Continental may add Santiago, Chile to finish out their South American network from Houston. Montreal is also possible. Other than that, I think most of our new international service will be from other airlines that have expressed interest: Air India, Virgin Nigeria, Qatar Airways, Emirates (already announced Dubai) and Korean Air. Assuming Heathrow and Dubai actually happen, the top one I'm rooting for now is Seoul, ideally on Continental (but Skyteam partner Korean Air would work), with connections on Korean Air throughout China, Japan, and southeast Asia. It would offer many more options than connecting through Tokyo on Northwest. Take a look here:

At 5:18 AM, March 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Certainly, Newark will always be Continental's hub for trans-Atlantic flights. But I just can't imagine that there's no demand for there to be non-stop service between Houston and major European cities like Madrid, at least.

I hope Continental is at least exploring the option.

At 7:44 AM, March 26, 2007, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Maybe. But I think it's more likely a flight to Madrid would be on Iberia Air to connect into their hub, similar to Lufthansa's flight to Frankfurt (CAL does not match, unlike with BA/London, KLM/AMS, and Air France/Paris). I guess there's a chance there's enough Spanish fliers to Mexico to possibly justify a CAL flight with connections in Houston, but they may be more likely to go through Mexico City or Miami - esp. if Mexico City lets them avoid extra customs/immigration going through the USA (which is problematic, I hear - we really need to let fliers connect through without it).

Of course, CAL is always looking at all their options. If a route looks like it'll be a winner, they'll put planes on it when they get them.


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