A Transportation Equity Study for Harris County, Texas

November 18, 2020   /   Project News

We’re excited to announce our work with the Harris County, Texas Engineering Department on the Transportation Equity Study. 

Harris County, which contains Houston, 34 other municipalities, and numerous unincorporated communities, is home to more than 4.7 million people, making it the country’s third most populous county. That’s a larger population than 24 states! Harris County is also one of the most diverse counties in the country, with large and growing Latinx, Black, White, and Asian American populations, and is one of the most popular counties in the country for foreign-born residents. As home to so many people and as one of the major economic engines of the United States, Harris County also has a complex transportation system, including highways, toll roads, an award winning and expanding transit system, and an increasing focus on biking and walking as key modes of transportation.

Asakura Robinson has been engaged to develop this study as a critical component of the County Transportation Plan to ensure that future transportation projects throughout Harris County take into account the wide-ranging needs present across our communities. We are thrilled to be working with Kristen Jeffers Media, TEI, Inc., and Gauge Engineering for this study. Our team is working to assess transportation equity in six key measures:

  • Access: who has access to which modes of transportation and what opportunities do those modes provide access to? 
  • Safety: are there disparities in transportation safety? Do these disparities lead to behavioral changes? 
  • Health: how does the transportation system impact community health? 
  • Resilience: how does the transportation system contribute to and impact flooding, air quality, and other measures of community resilience?
  • Funding: how is transportation funded?
  • Decision making: who is in the room when decisions are made and how do communities make their voices heard? 

The project recommendations will seek to ensure that future planning efforts are guided by the lessons around inequitable planning that community members have experienced in the past and provide a framework for making more equitable decisions in the future! 

There are several components to the County Transportation Plan, including the Vision Zero initiative, a county-wide trails plan, and the Multi-Modal Thoroughfare plan. Each of these sections will host a public meeting that Harris County community members are invited to attend. Currently, the Transportation Equity Plan team is scheduled to talk about our work on December 8th at 6 PM, and we invite you to begin registering for this meeting here. This is one step of a larger engagement strategy where we will be surveying the public, holding focus groups, and developing a multilingual activity to help the Harris County community have their needs and goals for transportation considered. 

Image from: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Harris-County-uses-Harvey-disaster-funding-to-get-14917051.php#photo-18776723
Image from: https://www.texastribune.org/2016/12/08/texas-transit-agencies-eye-bus-changes-after-rider/

This Transportation Equity Study is being managed by Zakcq Lockrem and Libby Bland. It is one of several projects that Asakura Robinson is happy to be currently conducting with Harris County, including the Precinct Two Parks and Trails Plan.  Our team is always excited to work closely with clients on the development of equity frameworks for communities, the environment, and transportation systems.

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