Transportation Issues in Houston
Technical report examines transportation issues in Houston and offers potential solutions and improvements. This report assesses the feasibility of the project taking into consideration the following criteria: availability of information, suitability of the project for the amount of time available between now and 2018 and the budget needed to implement the project.
Availability of information
The information about transportation issues in Houston has been taken from different sources, which gave a clear and thorough insight of the general situation in the sphere of city transportation. Evaluation and analysis of the transportation condition in the city provided by the Texas Department of Transportation revealed most urgent issues. Firstly, the infrastructure of the city needs little expanding; it is the quality of roads and pathways that need to be urgently improved. Secondly, since many strategically important highways are built in the city area, traffic congestions have become usual in Houston. According to TxDOT, Interstate I-45 from Beltway 8 North to Loop 610 is the first in the country by the level of transit. Thirdly, the city infrastructure seems to lack aesthetic consideration and spatial connections (Cost savings program, 2013). Therefore, more emphasis should be put on the optimization of commuting ways and creation of interesting places where people can rest. In the article In Depth: Worst Cities for Commuters Houston was ranked 8 when the travel time, road congestion and travel delays were measured (Levy, 2010).
The Time Frame
Since the project is long-term and of a great scale, we find it reasonable to distinguish several stages. The first stage will include prioritizing tasks, finding companies that will solve issues, designing and presenting projects. It is expected that the first stage will end in six months. In the second stage contractors fulfill their main duties; possible changes in present infrastructure may be done by altering current city plan. Finally, the last stage involves the process of verifying that new infrastructure is better. We anticipate that the whole project needs five years to be fully completed.
We expected the project to be very expensive because of its scale and time. Fortunately, the positive tendency towards reconstruction, resurfacing, bridge replacement or repairs gathers momentum over building new roads and has more financial support from the government (Houston, we have a problem: 4,507,059 hours of traffic, 2010). However, since a part of the project is also city infrastructure change for better connections, we evaluate the minimum finances needed for the project of $4.3 billion
This project is feasible. The only condition is that the government must assist in accomplishing the project. The wide availability information made it possible to better analyze and understand reasons of transportation issues and offer recommendations to deal with them. The first step that I would recommend taking is persuading the government – both local and federal – in the importance of improving transportation system. A great deal of statistical data may serve as an example. For instance, Texas Department of Transportation has calculated that because of poor condition of the part of I-45 annual losses add up to 98.03 million. By obtaining support from the government, the project will gain matrix of resources. Another problem that should be dealt with is traffic congestion. One possible solution is creating places for leisure that Houston lacks. This can serve as an incentive for people to walk or bike to their workplace. As an alternative, “hot lanes” can be built that are free of charge for single-occupancy drivers. Another criterion that I would take into consideration is public opinion. Conducting small surveys or referendums will help understand what and where to change.
The project was divided into three stages for better understanding and control of the process. If the work is not interrupted, five years is sufficient time.