Programs : Mobility
Downtown Houston's access to transportation in Houston is second to none. Improved access and mobility, however, continues to be a major goal of Central Houston including the planning, design and development of an effective, attractive expanded public mass transit system, working with the city of Houston, METRO, TxDOT, Gulf Coast Rail District, Brazos Transit District (Woodlands Express), and surrounding counties and cities.
Commute Survey of Employees
In March 2009 Central Houston conducted a survey of downtown workers, asking how they get to work (mode), what time they leave, trip duration, how many stops they make during their commute and why, and much more. Out of an estimated 140,000 downtown employees, more than 13,000 responses were received. The project's goal was to identify current commute mode split and other information, and use that information to (1) communicate the extent to which downtown commuters can and do choose alternate modes of transportation and (2) identify ways to further improve employee access to downtown. Of respondents, only 48% regularly drive to work alone. 29% use Park & Ride; 8% take a local bus, light rail or both; 11% carpool; 1.5% vanpool, 1% walk, and 1.5% other. The report and appendices are available here in PDF format.
- Downtown Houston Commute Survey Report
- Appendix 1 (survey instruments; discussion of survey sample; discussion of the economy at the time of the survey; and studies reviewed in conjunction with the analysis)
- Appendices Part 2: Maps (print in color on 11x17"/ledger size)
- Appendix 2a - Home ZIPs from survey, all respondents (density and count)
- Appendix 2b - Home ZIPs from survey, drive-alone respondents (density and count)
- Appendix 2c - Home ZIPs from survey, Park and Ride respondents (density and count)
- Appendix 2d - Home ZIPs from survey, local bus/rail/bus & rail respondents (density and count)
- Appendix 2e - Home ZIPs from survey, carpool respondents (density and count)
- Appendix 2f - Home ZIPs of downtown workers from US Census
- Appendix 2g - Houston-area resident distribution, 2009 and 2025 (est)
- Appendix 2h - Downtown Above & Below
A survey is being conducted in 2013 to update the data and provide additional information.
Survey of Transit and Parking Subsidies Offered by Employers
The Commute Survey described above asked employees what they thought their employer offered as transportation or parking subsidies. Separately, Central Houston has asked employers what incentives they do offer their employees for transit and/or parking. Companies' answers vary widely. Contact Laura Van Ness for more information and examples.
Carbon Footprint of the Employee Commute
Central Houston has developed a calculation comparing the employee commute of downtown workers to those of workers in other Houston business districts. The calculation utilized journey-to-work data from the US Census and the calculation of CO2 emissions from gasoline from the EPA. This presentation of this material is being developed but can be made available in the interim by contacting Laura Van Ness.
Central Houston serves as a Transportation Management Organization (TMO), assisting employers and employees with access, parking, and public transit issues. The TMO strongly encourages employers to provide some level of transit subsidy to their employees, as it has been found that even a small subsidy will encourage many to utilize transit, to a much greater degree than in any other Houston submarket. In recognition of downtown's commute advantages, downtown Houston has been designated by the Houston-Galveston Area Council and the EPA as a Best Workplaces for Commuters District. Find out more about the Best Workplaces for Commuters on the BWC website.