Pursuing a vision to improve transportation mobility and air quality in West Houston, Clark Martinson has earned a “Best in Motion” award from the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC).
Out of a nominee pool representing eight counties, Martinson, General Manager of The Energy Corridor District, was chosen to receive the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Leadership Award during H-GAC’s recent 2013 Clean Air Action awards luncheon.
The H-GAC award is given annually to an individual that demonstrates “outstanding leadership” in promoting and applying transportation demand management strategies designed to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.
With another 3.5 million people expected to move to Houston and neighboring counties within the next 50 years, congestion and air pollution from traffic is expected to mushroom. It won’t take magic to make more capacity. Just less demand, e.g. fewer cars – or more roadways, a costly and potentially invasive proposition.
“Our goal is to reduce demand by decreasing the number of single-occupancy vehicles on the road, or by reallocating peak demand in terms of space or time,” explains Martinson. “Transportation Demand Management is a strategy that can bring better environmental outcomes, more cost effectively, than by building freeways. In Houston, the need for more capacity is going to take both approaches.
“Ultimately, though, TDM can create a more livable city by reducing traffic congestion,” says Martinson, “with the health benefits of better air quality.”
One of the most ambitious TDM initiatives launched by The Energy Corridor District is its CarShare program, designed to make commuting via carpooling, vanpools, METRO, cycling and walking more attractive. Having a shared car while at work allows commuters to leave their private vehicle at home in the driveway – along with the added costs of fuel and wear-and-tear. Many Energy Corridor companies even subsidize their employees’ use of alternative transportation, adding further incentive to taking single-occupancy vehicles off the road.
At the ECD, Clark uses CarShare, allowing him to bicycle to work on many occasions. Fellow ECD team member Kelly Rector often grabs a METRO bus near her midtown home to get to work, then reserves a CarShare vehicle when needed.
An integral part of The Energy Corridor District’s TDM strategy is the effort by Martinson and his ECD team, including Transportation Manager John Nunez and Robert Rayburn, Development & Natural Resource Director, to create a pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly livable center. In May, the ECD won funding to enhance crosswalks, pedestrian ramps, signal improvements, and other safety enhancements involving six intersections along IH-10 for a $2.6 million project.
The ECD also leads the West Houston Trails Master Plan initiative, designed to add miles and miles of hike and bike trails to the existing 50-mile network.
Clark says he is honored to be recognized for, as H-GAC puts it, Outstanding TDM Leadership and Continued Commitment to Excellence in Developing and Promoting Commuter Options.
“But there’s a lot more work to do,” says Clark, “if we want to keep Houston mobile and highly livable.”