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Featured Story

How Well Does Transit Connect Houstonians?

Government Technology

As cities strive to understand how transit connects to health, economic opportunity and equity, they now have a new tool to help analyze the mass of data available.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology and TransitCenter’s AllTransit interactive database is “the largest source of transit connectivity, access and frequency data in America,” according to the site. By overlaying the data from 805 of the largest transit agencies in the country with information about jobs, demographics, even farmer’s market locations, the database offers a wealth of information about how transit serves the community.

Among its metrics is the “AllTransit Performance Score,” an index based on transit connectivity, access to jobs and frequency of service.

Cities like New York, San Francisco and Boston, unsurprisingly, score well on the index.

How about Houston? Of the 73 U.S. cities with populations greater than 250,000, Houston sits in the middle of the pack with a rank of 34. That’s just behind Dallas (ranked 31), and behind other Sun Belt cities such as Miami (11), Los Angeles (20), Atlanta (25) and New Orleans (29).

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Featured Publication

Stalled Out: How Empty Parking Spaces Diminish Neighborhood Affordability

March 25, 2016

Stalled Out: How Empty Parking Spaces Diminish Neighborhood Affordability explores the relationship between unused parking and neighborhood affordability. Many cities, including Chicago, mandate the minimum number of parking spaces new developments need to build. As the report points out, however, these minimum requirements don’t always reflect real demand.

For this study, we interviewed multifamily developers in Chicago and went to the parking lots and garages of 40 apartment buildings, both market-rate and subsidized, to see how much parking was being used. Researchers went at 4:00 a.m., when most tenants have parked their cars and are asleep in bed. Consistent with our findings in the San Francisco Bay AreaWashington, D.C.; and King County, Washington, the study found that:

  • The supply of parking exceeds demand. Buildings offered two spots for every three units. According to our analysis, they only used one for every three.
  • As parking supply goes up, much of it sits empty. Apartments with fewer spaces saw a greater percentage of their parking used.
  • Apartment buildings near frequent transit need less parking. Buildings within ten minutes of a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train stop provided one spot for every two units. Even then, one-third of the spots sat empty.

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