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Houston Ranks as Eighth Worst City for Commuters
Friday, May 09, 2008 3:25 PM  

Bumper-to-bumper traffic on recently ranked the 10 best cities for commuters and the 10 worst cities for commuters.

Houston's was the eighth worst city for commuters.

The magazine examined 75 of the biggest metropolitan areas in the nation and analyzed traffic patterns, travel delays, travel times and how efficiently commuters use existing infrastructure, according to information from the Texas Transportation Institute and the U.S. Census Bureau's 2006 American Community Survey.

Read the full article here.

Cities were rated worse when they suffered from a combination of horrendous traffic, inadequate infrastructure and drivers who avoid carpools and public transit.

Other cities that came out at the bottom include San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas - ranked the fifth worst city for commuters. The reason? While Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has expanded, it has not done it fast enough to accommodate the suburban sprawl that compounds traffic snarls. Dallas has worse traffic congestion than Houston with fewer people using non-single-driver commutes (15 percent versus 17 percent for Houston). Dallas drivers experience 58 hours of delays every year compared to Houston's 56 hours. Close-up of cars in traffic

The No. 1 worst city for commuters is Atlanta, the fastest-growing city on the list in the United States,  where more drivers crowd onto the roadways than the infrastructure can handle. Only 29 percent of its drivers get to work in less than 20 minutes - the third worst rate in the nation. And 13 percent spend more than an hour driving to work, making it the nation's fourth worst rate.

On the flip side, rejoice if you live in Buffalo, N.Y., Salt Lake City and Milwaukee where the living is easy, as far as commutes go. Other top cities include Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Corpus Christi and Eugene, Ore.

One good thing Houston has going for it: In cities with more than two million workers, we have the highest percentage of carpoolers. Thirteen percent of residents carpool.

Still, says, "Houston has largely resisted mass transit system development in favor of expanding roadways, highways and interstates to accommodate more cars."

With the escalating price of gas, METRO's ridership has increased - and hopefully, when our five light-rail lines are completed in 2012, Houston can climb its way onto the list of the 10 best cities for commuters.  





Posted by Mary Sit
Filed under:


DominicMazoch said:

.....and what else is new.....

# May 9, 2008 4:48 PM

Derrick said:

Quotes from the article (and my comments):

"Houston has largely resisted mass transit system development in favor of expanding roadways, highways and interstates to accommodate more cars."

(Must agree.)

"It uses a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) system which drivers can pay to use if their vehicles are carrying less than three people, and the city is expanding its non-HOV toll road system."

(Have you noticed the lack of accuracy in describing our HOV system?  They obviously are talking about HOT lines.  Now SOV drivers can pay their tickets for breaking regulations.)

# May 9, 2008 5:49 PM

Don Gallagher said:

Some interesting points of argument to Mary's post as well as Forbes "list".

First, a link SHOULD have been provided directly to the story as people are posting replies and most of them are VERY negative on the accuracy of Forbes list.

I am one of them as I spend a lot of time reading and looking at congestiona nd solutions.

Sorry my posts are lengthy but this method of psoting is so rudimentary.

Here is the complete paragraph on Houston;

"No. 8: Houston, Texas

Here, 13% of people carpool, the highest such percentage in cities with over 2 million workers, and third among cities with more than 1 million workers.

Still, unlike Dallas and Austin, Houston has largely resisted mass transit system development in favor of expanding roadways, highways and interstates to accommodate more cars. It uses a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) system which drivers can pay to use if their vehicles are carrying less than three people, and the city is expanding its non-HOV toll road system."

1st. WHAT has Austin done for mass transit that surpasses Houston???

Houston has and may still be one of the leading cities for the use of HOV lanes for "mass transit' using buses.  This is something that is far more extensive than anything Ausitn has done and may surpass Dallas' attempts.

So much to talk about on this subject that this blog lacks the capaicty for it all so that's it for the city.

Here are some comments posted to the website (Forbes) on their "LIST";

Posted by governorkaine | 05/01/08 03:11 PM EDT

This is perhaps one of the most inaccurate articles ever published by DC traffic is horrendous. At least 40% of the commuters have a 120 minute commute (round trip) each day. It does not help that the Federal Government (including the Pentagon) gives away free parking and allows their drones to have flexible schedules, so now there is traffic each work day from 6 a.m. - 8 p.m.

The Metro is a good system if you live and work within a half mile of the system. Otherwise, the subway system in Nairobi and Kabul are probably better.Did you bother to research the Metro fare hikes this year for the article?

Plus, none of the local governments attempt to cooperate in improving the transit systems. Expand the Metro and add high speed, express trains.

None of the lights are timed either! But, the speed and red light cameras from Lockheed Martin work better than a laser guided missile!

Here is another;

Posted by rhrn17 | 05/01/08 02:28 PM EDT

Austin is rated one of the best places to live and for the life of me, I cannot figure out why. The traffic here is a.w.f.u.l. The infrastructure here cannot support the amount of people who are flowing in. Everyone who lives here grumbles about the commute and how it takes an hour or more to travel 4 miles. It is always rush hour here and high traffic times turns all main streets and freeways into parking lots. And shopping? Shopping here is like shopping in San Francisco: you pray the parking lot Gods will be kind to you and let you find a space without you circling around five times before you find an opening.

The direct link to the story is;

# May 10, 2008 6:44 PM

Peter Wang said:

17% carpool here? Can't be right. Impossible. Just look around you when you're on the road!

# May 11, 2008 8:37 PM

Cedric Collins said:

No offense but who cares what Forbes says?  That may not be what Houston wants to hear but as long as people have a way of getting around town, be happy about that---whereever you live at in this country; not just Houston.

If this ranking doesn't "help" Houston in any way possible, then I'll just throw this down the drain (if nobody minds) and just be thankful that commuter and local riders alike know that they (AGAIN) "have a way of" getting from point A to point B.

# May 12, 2008 7:03 AM

ChloeMireille said:

I will agree that the commuting in Atlanta is nightmarish at best, outright hellish at worst. My sisters live about 30 miles south of downtown, one near I-75 and the other near I-85.

Driving in to Atlanta on I-85 is like driving in from Clear Lake. Some days it's fine, other days you're calling in late from the on-ramp.

A good day on I-75 is about the same as an average day on 290. A bad day on I-75 looks like the evacuation from Hurricane Rita.

The worst time to drive in Atlanta is Friday afternoon/evening and Sunday afternoon/evening.

Why? Disney World.

All the traffic to Disney World has to come down I-75, I-85, or I-95. Two of those run through Atlanta. Friday's the worst of the two. People are going to Disney World, and everyone else is trying to go home. And God help you if it's Spring Break. That's a perfect storm, right there.

And as an added bonus, one of the fastest growing counties in the country is 30 miles south of Atlanta. It's their version of Fort Bend county, but smaller.  

# May 12, 2008 10:46 AM

Ms. Pants said:

I have never seen the big appeal to Austin.  And as far as a poor city for commuters--I think all these lists are very skewed towards whatever the writer of said article actually *wants* to find.  

When I worked in the Galleria and lived in Katy, I was the thinnest I've ever been and Houston was perpetually the fattest city in America.

My commute is [usually] fine now because I take the P&R and we're on the "worst commute" list.  

It's all relative to what the writer wants to find.  I'm not saying that commutes don't seriously suck for some people in Houston, but these lists are just arbitrary no matter what.

# May 12, 2008 1:21 PM

DominicMazoch said:


Actually, If I remember, the two major N-S, Interstates, 75 and 85, merge as one frewway as the "Central Artery" inside Atlanta's "loop".  And what people don't say is that 75-85 combo was rebuilt for the Olympics!

I have a cousin in Atlanta.  He told me that when I come to Atalnta, take MARTA from Hartsfield to either CNN building, or the station closest to the house!

# May 12, 2008 5:23 PM

ChloeMireille said:


I think it does. It looks like that segment where 45, 59, and 288 all merge together south of Downtown.

And yes, MARTA is awesome.

# May 14, 2008 9:54 AM

WA said:

With the light rail system does not go anyhere and the bus only goes in and out of downtown, Houston will soon be #1....  WORSE.

# May 15, 2008 11:29 AM

Cedric Collins said:

WA said:  "With the light rail system does not go anyhere and the bus only goes in and out of downtown, Houston will soon be #1....  WORSE."

Huh?  Sure, it will---with more and more cars that are on the road and not enough people smart enough to at least carpool (or even vanpool) if they don't feel like taking the bus, of course.

# May 15, 2008 3:27 PM

Royko said:


It is encouraging to see that a few recognize the METREAUX lunacy!

# May 15, 2008 4:44 PM

Cedric Collins said:



# May 16, 2008 8:53 AM

Royko said:

Mr. Collins,

The official March numbers from METREAUX speak for themselves; at a time when the gasoline price rose well above $3.00/gallon, and when ridership normally peaks during the Houston Rodeo, both the bus and tram boardings DECLINED!!!

METREAUX is chasing away riders who depend on transit.

# May 16, 2008 10:57 AM

Cedric Collins said:


        Forget the numbers and listen to this.  When the gas prices reach $4.00/gallon (and it will), what are people going to do?  PLEASE answer me that.

"METREAUX is chasing away riders who depend on transit."

WRONG!  It hasn't chased me away and it never will.  As long as there's a transit agency in this city, you'll see me FAITHFULLY riding it---NO EXCEPTIONS!

# May 22, 2008 12:43 PM

Royko said:

Mr. CoLLins,

It is admirable that you exhibit such blind loyalty to METREAUX.  Others seem to find another way to get where they need to go, when they need to get there, without subjecting themselves to being herded like "sheeple" onto the tram just to ride the bus.

# May 27, 2008 1:00 PM

Cedric Collins said:


        Yeah---whatever you say!  I mean what I said and I'm sticking to it---whether you like it or not.  Deal with it!

Transit in not just Houston but all over this great nation is NOT going anywhere and they don't have to bow down to people like you since you do NOT have the final say in certain decision-making stuff.

# May 29, 2008 9:42 AM

Jibreel Riley said:

Commuter Rail, when is it coming to the suburbs of Houston? Dose Houston want to be better than LA, hell even Dallas has the TRE.

# May 29, 2008 1:11 PM

Cedric Collins said:

If this commuter rail becomes a reality, bring it out here to the 290 area first.  (sticks out tongue)

# May 29, 2008 3:01 PM

Royko said:

Mr. CoLLins,

It would seem the Urban Rail Robber Barons at METREAUX likely would begin commuter rail out the US Hwy 290 corridor.

More so since Radack is drooling over the thought of the economic potential.

Waiting to learn if Radack has become a highly-paid "Rail Consultant" similar to when it was discovered he was a real estate "consultant" to Sueba USA, where they paid him over $900,000 which he did not disclose to voters.


Houston Chronicle Link Archives:


Paper: Houston Chronicle

Date: WED 04/19/2000

Section: A

Page: 21 Metfront

Edition: 3 STAR

More heat for Radack on contract / Commissioners Court hears from 2 activists



# June 3, 2008 10:53 PM
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