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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Transit will be key to solving Houston's traffic issues, poll shows

Traffic congestion is the top concern of Houston-area residents, according to the 2008 Houston Area Survey. And the majority of respondents believe mass transit is a primary way to solve congestion issues.

Conducted for the past 27 years by Stephen Klineberg, a sociology professor at Rice University, the survey tracks changes in demographic patterns, life experiences, attitudes and beliefs through random telephone polls. This year, 35 percent of the respondents believed traffic congestion is the region’s biggest problem, surpassing crime for the first time since 2005. In addition, 62 percent said the development of an improved mass transit system is “very important” to the future of Houston and 51 percent believed a rail component is “very important.”

The survey results came as no surprise to officials at the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO), which recently conducted its own survey of 300 Houston-area residents. The agency’s poll showed that 78 percent of the respondents believed the transit system is “there when you need it.” And, through the first six months of fiscal-year 2008, METRO light-rail ridership is up 7.3 percent and bus ridership, 5.5 percent, compared with the same FY2007 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/25/2008