Saturday, 28 November 2015

Transportation in Houston

Upon visiting Texas, with major cities in the state implementing new strategies through the use of the car, public transportation seems to be at quite a loss. With an example of Houston, who have devised a plan in which the public transportation of this major city has been chosen to be in the form of buses and an even faster form, rapid buses. Even with Houston having a light rail network running from the town centre and hotel district out to where sporting events and retail outlets are located. 

The innovative theory behind the addition of buses to Houston is so that a public transport system can be used throughout the centre and districts surrounding, although the system could have defects many great features such as the added lanes for continual bus servicing to the metropolitan areas and the chance for route changes in case of emergencies (as with light rail, this option cannot happen, re Portland incident). Other positives include that cost projections for the new bus transport system were alleged to be 25% of the price of a new light rail transport system. Although further proof would be needed. 

More innovative design models are the extensions of freeways throughout Texas to combat large amounts of traffic. These examples like the ring road network in Houston which works on either a payment system for cars with single passengers, or a free system if you are car-pooling with two or more passengers. These roads make the route into the city much quicker and bypass many of the cars on the freeway into Houston. The three ring roads are all spaced from the centre of town so traffic can flow at a much better rate than the original freeways.

The problems with having systems such as these would be the congestion of traffic over time with the city’s population forever growing is that you can only extend and widen freeways to a certain point. With a car dependent society, the hard work of trying to implement a public transport route throughout the community could fail due to the common use of cars and fear of change amongst the people. These anarchist views are ‘pulling back the reins’ of a city in which planning for a rich future has been kept back by not having a public transport system that can accommodate for the population of Houston. Without inner city residential areas that could be using a system put in place, there is no real need for weekend uptown transportation as after work and weekends the city centre is nearly empty. A change to the city scape could make for a huge impact of the Houston transport system.

Noah Williams