Commuter study reveals demand for better transit options
One thing is clear from the recent Commuter Survey by The Energy Corridor District. Commuters want better transit service to The Energy Corridor.
More than half of the 1,000-plus respondents spend 30 minutes or more commuting to work. It’s no surprise then (the survey found) that direct transit routes and more frequent service from key residential areas west and northwest of The Energy Corridor would encourage commuters to use alternative transportation.
What may surprise is that more than a third of commuters said they view carpooling/vanpooling as a viable option. But many say they don’t know anyone to carpool with – or feel they need a vehicle available during work, something The Energy Corridor District’s CarShare program addresses.
Half of the commuters surveyed rate transit service to The Energy Corridor as below average or poor, and more than three-fourths want better transit service.
“Direct transit from the Katy/Sealy and Cypress/Northwest areas has the strongest support among survey respondents,” explains John Nunez, transportation manager for The Energy Corridor District. “A large majority of survey responders live in suburban West and Northwest Houston spending a fair amount of time commuting. If the service is frequent and fares inexpensive, the survey shows commuters would be interested.”
Nunez says the survey results will help The Energy Corridor District shape West Houston’s mobility strategy and assist the District in advocating for better transit options. “With another 63,000 employees forecast to work in The Energy Corridor by 2030, finding alternative transportation solutions that people will accept could be our region’s most significant challenge,” Nunez says.
And changing Houston’s strong personal-vehicle culture may not be easy.
More than 75 percent of commuters taking the survey drive solo every single workday. Only 10 percent of survey-takers say they use carpooling or vanpooling often or occasionally. Less than 2 percent use METRO’s Park & Ride or local bus transit regularly or occasionally.
Energy Corridor commuters also want to wait fewer than 10 minutes to take a transit service and then pay less than $45 a month. That’s a bit more than $2 a day for many who are consuming a gallon of fuel (or far more) each day driving to and from work. They are, however, willing to walk up to a quarter of a mile to reach a transit service, according to the survey.
With the survey findings in tow, The Energy Corridor District is currently exploring options and funding for a direct transit service to Katy, plus a unique program that matches up shared rides for commuters. Other mobility solutions most certainly will involve companies staggering workday hours and allowing more telecommuting.
For more information on The Energy Corridor District efforts to improve mobility in the region, visit energycorridor.org/mobility.