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please come fix BART for us! we desperately need you or at least someone thinking like you!


Wow, looks excellent.

Herb Curl

Like many cities, Seattle is increasingly too expensive for middle to lower income people to live there, although that's where they work. Has any plan been developed to provide bus service specifically to concentrations of lower income people who commute to work in city cores?


"80% of Metro's resources to maximizing ridership" What would look different if this were 100%? What would the projected impact on ridership be and what are the barriers to making this switch (legal, political, moral)? Do coverage based routes really help anyone in relation to their costs?

jack horner

Concerning the balance of ridership vs coverage services: transit agencies need to have clear geographical criteria for providing service, and they need to have the strength to say to property developers things like: 'If you want to build a retirement village at the end of a 1km culdesac, please understand that the new residents will *never* have a public bus service, and if they ask us that's what we'll tell them.'

And when the new residents come knocking a few years later, the agency needs to have the strength to say, 'Sorry - no. Here are our guidelines, and you don't rate.'

Having clear guidelines concerning the geographical criteria is key, so everyone knows where they stand.


"without increasing operating cost"

That's amazing. Wow.


What's scary about the "before" map is that the Red light rail line presently has a terminal with NO high-frequency bus service.

And the "after" map has three.

Here's hoping the voters of Houston see the wisdom in this and approve it.


Looks pretty good and amazing what you can do by optimizing resources.

The ridership vs coverage idea still concerns me.
While I completely understand the idea of putting more frequent service where it will have the most ridership, we cannot expect transit to be an alternative to the auto if it does not serve all built up areas.

This seems to be a trap that most American transit agencies and planners seem to get themselves stuck into. I noticed on the slides comments about some areas getting demand response because there was pockets of low income population.
If the transit system is being designed to be a true alternative, then that should not matter, and the service should be provided regardless of the income levels.

It also creates an issue where we are telling people in certain areas that they can't have quality transit service because we as planners think the built form will not support it. This is the trap Paul Mees was advocating we get out of as planners, and instead focus on providing quality transit to all corners of a region.

So great plan, but I think in future plans, I would rather see the approach that is taken in Canada, where there is a mandated goal to provide a basic quality transit service within a 5 or 10 minute walk of 95% of the population in the service area. Then you build up the main corridors from there with more frequent service.

The only other issue I noticed with this Houston plan is that bus routes have different service spans.
Why not just choose to operate all the routes until say midnight seven days a week? If you have parts of the system closing down earlier, then again, you are not offering a true alternative to the auto.

And what about the other 1.5 million people who will not be on the frequent service network?
How is transit going to address their needs and provide an attractive alternative to the auto?


"Like many cities, Seattle is increasingly too expensive for middle to lower income people to live there, although that's where they work. Has any plan been developed to provide bus service specifically to concentrations of lower income people who commute to work in city cores?"

Herb Curl. If cities have to provide special routes to get low income people to work, then I think we can say the transit system is failing.

If we are truly going to build public transit networks that maximize mobility and offer a real alternative to the auto. Then we should not have to worry about routes to serve low income populations, because all areas of the region would have an attractive transit service that meets the needs of not only poor people, but people with a choice.


I grew up in Houston, and my biggest transit experience there now is coming from the airport to visit my family. It's a 3-seat ride, totaling about 27 miles, eventually ending up in the southwest portion of the city. Bus from airport to downtown, light rail to the medical center, then another bus from the medical center to home. It's a perfect example of the kind of random trip where a frequent, gridded network is so essential.

The current network works reasonably well, provided that the plane lands between 2 and 4 on a weekday afternoon. The new network will make a smooth trip on a much wider range of times, besides speeding up the first leg by at least 15-20 minutes (by removing a bunch of zig-zagging).

It's a great idea. Unfortunately, this being Houston, I'm not too optimistic about it getting people out of their cars. Based on personal experience, most buses are half-full during rush hour and mostly empty during non-rush-hour. This is also a city where transit debates have strong racial overtones (an overwhelming majority of regular transit riders there are minorities), and a city whose own congressman (John Culbertson) is using his influence to keep federal transit money away from his district.

This is also a city where (except for college dorms), the support network for living without a car is largely lacking. Many sidewalks are poorly maintained and disappear entirely in many neighborhoods. Pedestrian cut-through paths in residential cul-de-sacs do not exist. Bike lanes are almost non-existant. Arterial roads that a bus could plausibly run on are a mile or two apart. Freeways and railroad tracks divide the city, with limited crossing points. There is no real-time info for buses. Express buses are virtually non-existant outside of rush hour. Uber and Lyft exist, but are spread thin, compared to real transit cities. Car2Go does not exist at all, while Zipcar's sole location in the entire city is restricted to Rice University affiliates only. Bikeshare technically exists, but the coverage area is so small it provides little benefit over walking.

Sometimes, it seems like people there lack a basic sense of awareness of non-car trips. Like the grocery store in my former neighborhood across the street from a major transit center, with fences and "don't walk" signs directing everybody to go the long way around to the nearest official crosswalk. (In practice, people ignore these signs all the time and cut through using the driveway intended for buses exiting the transit center, along with some landscaping tromping).

While a frequent network is a great start, Houston has a long, long way to go for transit to become anything beyond an afterthought for the average person's life.

Sascha Claus

> Freeways and railroad tracks divide the city, with limited crossing points.

Sounds like an application for small-scale chokepoints; or at least an opportunity to bring multiple (paralleling) routes together for easy connections.

Andre Lot

Something that stroke me on the revamped plan is that the light rail didn't become a focal point, with many bus routes duplicating parts of the light rail lines. Isn't that a waste? If you have a good light rail line, why bother still running parallel buses? Shouldn't all buses that run parallel to light rail (especially the red line) be just truncated at the first/last common stop with the light rail?


I was looking at the Houston map in more detail, and it is amazing how currently and in the planned network, there are huge swaths of built up areas with no transit service.

Like this area

Areas like this in other cities would have a bus every 15 minutes - 30 minutes. Why was it decided that such areas in Houston should have no transit?

Sascha Claus

> Shouldn't all buses that run parallel to light rail (especially the red line) be just truncated at the first/last common stop with the light rail?

In one theory, yes. In another theory, a route shouldn't be terminated shortly before a transfer point (Wheeler and TX Med Ctr) or shortly before a large destination (Downtown and probably TX Med Ctr).

The purple line seems to have even more paralleling without the abovementioned reasons.



Why? Because it's a shit-hole. Half the city doesn't even have sidewalks...


Mike. There are large AREAS with no transit service, but not all that many people in many of those areas. What's more, in those areas the street environment is so hostile to pedestrians that transit has little opportunity to succeed.


This looks fantastic! Though, as a Houstonian living along Main Street in The Heights, I wish there was high frequency bus service up Main Street linking The Heights to the Red Line MetroRail.

On the whole though, a system like this might actually facilitate my dream of being able to ditch my car!

scott t

i bet the small number of negativley affected coudl be given folding bikes to offset their longer walks/times to buses and it would still be cheaper


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