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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
Houston-Galveston Area Council
News Release
Tuesday, June 02, 2009

HOUSTON-GALVESTON AREA COUNCIL PUBLIC MEETING TONIGHT
on the Draft 2010-2011 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) 

WHEN:  TUESDAY, June 2, 2009 – 5:30-7:00 PM

WHERE:  H-GAC Offices: 3555 Timmons Lane, 2nd Floor, Conference Room A, Houston, Texas 77027 

WHAT:  H-GAC will host a public meeting on the Draft 2010-2011 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). The 2010-2011 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) describes the transportation plans and programs and the transportation-related air quality planning activities that will be conducted during Fiscal Years 2010 (10/01/09 - 09/30/10) and 2011 (10/01/10 - 09/30/11), regardless of funding sources or agencies conducting these activities.

The meeting will include a presentation and light refreshments will be served. Copies of the Draft UPWP will be available at the meeting and posted on the H‑GAC Transportation Web site at

MORE: 
The process of operating, maintaining, and improving the region's surface transportation system is complex and demands ongoing regional planning efforts. Many of the activities described in this document support the collaborative and coordinated decision-making process between state and local government agencies, transportation providers, shippers, and carriers of goods, and the residents of the region. Through the cooperation of these stakeholders, the products of these planning efforts will provide the region with greater mobility benefits.

The following five tasks document the transportation planning activities in the TMA in 2010-2011:

Task I of the UPWP describes the administrative support and policy development activities provided by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) staff, which supports the transportation planning process and facilitates interagency cooperation and coordination throughout the TMA. This section also documents the public outreach efforts as applied to all of the Tasks and stakeholders.

Task II of the UPWP describes the planning activities that generate or collect critical transportation data. Transportation planning requires the development of detailed databases that describe the primary aspects of the transportation system. These include the condition and use of system facilities or services, the purposes for which the system is used, the system’s relationship to existing and future land uses, and the system’s impact on the social, environmental, and economic well being of our region.

Task III addresses short-range planning activities. A number of sub-area studies and transit feasibility analyses will be undertaken to advance the development of sub-area profiles and to test the viability of the expansion of public transportation beyond the service area of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO). This Task also includes the update and implementation activities of the Regional Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Plan and the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

Task IV of the UPWP describes the planning activities that are being undertaken to develop a updated long-range 2040 Regional Transportation Plan, including a regional visioning exercise and continuation of Bicycle and Pedestrian planning activities.

By the year 2040, the region's population and employment are expected to increase to over 9 million people and 4 million jobs. The demand for travel has historically grown at a faster rate than the area's population or employment. With over 290 million daily vehicle miles of travel (VMT) projected for the year 2040, the region's transportation needs will grow beyond our ability to expand the region's roadway system.

Such growth may also further impact the region’s air quality. The development of new transportation technologies and strategies, in conjunction with expansion of the region's roadway system, are necessary to maintain the Houston-Galveston region's economic competitiveness and to improve the local quality of life.

Task V of the UPWP includes special one-time planning studies looking at safety, security, intermodal, and aviation issues in the region. This task also includes Major Corridor Studies (MCS), formerly called Major Investment Studies. These long-range corridor plans are the means for examining the role of alternative transportation modes and strategies in specific corridors. The MCS results in a specific design concept and scope for transportation improvements within a corridor. MCS may include access management studies along selected corridors.

Service Area: 

The Houston-Galveston Area Council has been designated by the State of Texas to serve as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for transportation planning in the urbanized region that consists of Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller counties.

This eight-county TMA includes five U.S. Census-designated urbanized areas with populations greater than 50,000 (the Houston Urbanized Area, the Texas City/ LaMarque Urbanized Area, the Galveston Urbanized Area, The Woodlands Urbanized Area, and the Angleton/ Lake Jackson Urbanized Area), with a total of 4.7 million people in 2000. The 2010 decennial census is expected to increase the number of urbanized areas and thus the population.






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