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Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
State of METRO Maps Transit Future for the Region
Press Release
Thursday, November 30, 2017

State of METROMoving more people every day across the region was a key theme at the 2017 State of METRO luncheon today. The annual event, which was hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), was held downtown at the Marriott Marquis Houston.

METRO Chair Carrin Patman, METRO President & CEO Tom Lambert, and GHP President & CEO Bob Harvey discussed a wide range of topics including METRO’s integral role before, during and after Hurricane Harvey, as well as the Authority’s critical contribution in transporting people to major events including Super Bowl LI, and the 2017 World Series games and parade.

"The time to plan is now," said Patman. "The Houston region is expected to grow from 6.5 million residents to over 10 million by 2040. That's the equivalent of adding the combined populations of San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Corpus Christi and Arlington." 

Both Patman and Lambert cited numerous achievements by the agency, including:

  • The transport of over 15,000 Houston-area residents to safety and shelter during Hurricane Harvey. 
  • Being one of only four urban transit agencies in the country to gain bus ridership.
  • An A-rating awarded by a national consumer advocacy organization and its state affiliate for METRO's practice of showing taxpayers how their money is spent.

Also announced were several initiatives and enhancements to on-going efforts. Highlights of the initiatives for FY2018 included:

  • The development and implementation of a long-range regional transit plan known as METRONext.
  • A focus on enhancing the customer experience through technology and accessibility improvements.
  • Enhanced safety. Over the next few years, METRO will increase METRO Police presence by over one-third and increase the number of fare inspectors.
  • Continued research and development into autonomous vehicle technology to improve mobility in high-density areas.
  • Funding safety projects like enhanced crosswalks, additional rail fencing, public education efforts and a Bluetooth pedestrian alert pilot project.

"It's really about building an environment where people feel comfortable and safe. It's about creating a walkable and pleasant experience," said Lambert. "That's what transit needs to be. Transit is about moving people to opportunities."

The pair acknowledged the mobility challenges faced by the rapidly growing region and offered their collective insight into what the future might hold. 

Patman asked audience members to share their ideas for  METRONext and support increased investment in the public transportation system.

"We really need your help. We hope you'll be involved with us every step of the way. Give us your input. Help us expand this wonderful asset to enhance the quality of life in Houston and keep our city competitive with the rest of the world."

Dannenbaum Engineering BayTran
Remembering Jim Guidry

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