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Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas
President & CEO
1900 Main Street
Gessner Bus Operations Optimized Service Treatments (BOOST)
West Little York P&R to Fondren Meadow Drive at Gessner Road
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County’s (METRO) Gessner route is one of the 21 routes that make up METRO’s 21 frequent bus corridors which carry approximately 60 percent of local bus boardings. More specifically, the 46 Gessner route is ranked in the top 15 routes which boasts an average 6,710 weekday boardings (METRONext 2018 BOOST Methodology Analysis).
The 46 Gessner route’s significance can be characterized by the following elements:
- Provides north-south crosstown service on the west side of the Houston metropolitan area.
- Interfaces with the University Corridor bus rapid transit (BRT) line as proposed under METRONext (METRO’s Long Range Regional Planning Process), the 82 Westheimer and the 4 Beechnut Local Bus Routes.
- The Gessner corridor and the current 46 Gessner route serves north-south trips that traverse two major activity centers: Memorial City and Westchase District.
The 46 Gessner route achieves high ridership while also experiencing large segments with low average speeds and inconsistent reliability. The bus route along the corridor runs through mixed traffic in an area that is densely developed consisting of commercial, industrial and residential areas. Besides the frequency of stops (185 in total), the Gessner corridor is riddled with intersections and driveways serving retail outlets, industrial facilities and residential communities.
Right-of-way (ROW) constrains along Gessner Road make the addition of transit, such as bus stop facilities, and sidewalk infrastructure challenging. Along the Gessner route there are impediments to accessibility including discontinuous sidewalks, no marked crosswalks and lack of passenger amenities, such as benches and/or shelters. As for both safety and accessibility, various stops along the Gessner route do not provide adequate access, shelter and crossings.
The range of improvements proposed for the Gessner BOOST include:
1. Stop optimization/consolidation/relocation
2. New passenger shelters
3. Accessibility enhancements
4. First/last mile improvements
5. Transit signal priority
6. Queue jumps
7. Bus-only lanes
8. Enhanced passenger information
Following a preliminary assessment, other strategies to further improve the Gessner corridor may include all-door boarding, three door buses, near-level boarding, off-board fare collection and headway management. These other strategic enhancements may only apply to specific areas of the corridor and not its entirety. Nevertheless, they will have significant impacts on the service benefits related to customer experience, reliability and time savings.
For the 46 Gessner BOOST enhancements will include route extension to West Little York Park & Ride as its northern terminus. These proposed termini will have significant increases in ridership since it will connect the 46 Gessner bus route to multiple commuter bus services as well as other local bus routes, which will offer West Little York patrons connections to major activity centers such as the Westchase District (approximately 12 miles from West Little York Park & Ride) and Memorial City Mall (approximately seven miles from West Little York Park & Ride).
By implementing BOOST strategies in the Gessner corridor, trips will improve for many current riders and create service that is more attractive and marketable to potential new riders, positively impacting overall ridership. Additionally, based on METRO’s analysis, the implementation of such strategies could significantly make operations more cost effective. The findings in METRO’s analysis reveal that a six to 10 percent time savings per round trip is possible which can translate to operating cost savings of $470,960 and an overall improved customer experience. With BOOST improvements, customers will benefit from faster more reliable service thanks to actions such as stop consolidation resulting in a 20 percent reduction of stops and transit signal priority (TSP) at specific intersections. Furthermore, improvements at stops will ensure more customer comfort and provide real-time information on next bus arrival. These savings could “pay back” the estimated implementation costs of the BOOST treatments in seven years.
Less than $100 million
(Manage) Transit Priority Infrastructure
View Uploaded File: Funding Commitment Letter & Letters of Support 10.31.18.pdf
Categorical Exclusion (CE)
C-listed 1, 2, 5, 12, 13 depending on project section or complexity
To be determined during planning and design phases of the project
View Uploaded File: 1. Gessner BOOST Pre-Application_final - Interagency Coordination.docx
View Uploaded File: 1a Gessner BOOST DEV TIMELINE.xlsx
This project was included in the voter-approved 2003 METRO Solutions referendum. Significant study and analysis was undertaken to develop concepts for this project. All evaluations demonstrated strong performance with improvements in this corridor. Through METRO’s development of METRONext, additional investigations and concepts have been produced for various corridors that are to be considered for BOOST enhancements. Ultimately this corridor can be converted to a Bus Rapid Transit service given its strong performance.
The Gessner corridor directly benefits from METRO’s projects on State of Good Repair (SOGR) and Universal Accessibility. The SOGR is derived from METRO’s Asset Management Plan, which calls for regularly scheduled assessments and replacement/rehabilitation of transit infrastructure.
In FY 2012, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded METRO a $3,212,000 grant under its discretionary SOGR program to establish an agency-wide asset management system, known as the Enterprise Asset Management System. This new system has improved the agency’s operational performance through increased equipment/asset availability, decreased maintenance and repair (M&R) costs and increased bus and rail utilization. SOGR projects account for $107.1 million, or over 64 percent of METRO’s $166 million FY 2018 CIP budget.
With regards to Universal Accessibility, METRO developed a Bus Stop Accessibility Plan to improve the ease of access to transit, making transit a more attractive transportation option.
The Universal Accessibility Improvements at Bus Stops is one of METRO’s top priorities. METRO wants to achieve 100 percent Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) conformity at all bus stops in the next five years. The METRO system consists of over 9,000 bus stops, approximately 75 percent (6,800) of these bus stops have no or limited ADA accessibility and the rest have potential for providing enhanced accessibility. METRO has been advancing improvements with the budget resources available. In FY 2018, the agency completed improvements at 200 stops and will be completing design at an additional 200 to be implemented in FY 2019. The agency committed $11 million in Universal Accessibility investments in FY 2018. For FY 2019, the agency has a goal of improving 200 bus stops and completing design for another 200 to be ready for construction and implementing 400 bus stops per year moving forward.
View Uploaded File: 1c Gessner BOOST MAP.pdf
View Uploaded File: 1b Gessner BOOST BUDGET.xlsx
View Uploaded File: 3 Gessner BOOST BCA Files.zip
View Uploaded File: BCA Placeholder - see #1 Safety Benefits for BCA information.xlsx
View Uploaded File:
See attached BCA in #1 Safety Benefits for methodology.
901 - 1000
There are currently a total 185 stops along the 46 Gessner route. This project will reduce the number in both directions by 20 percent. By reducing the number of stops along the route, the overall travel time is reduced by 10 minutes. Another aspect of the project is to improve pedestrian and bicycle connections to the route. Pedestrians will have better access to bus stops along Gessner through behind the curb facilities included bus shelters, ADA ramps, wider sidewalks, and/or extensions to sidewalks for connectivity as needed. At select stops along the route there will be bicycle amenities added such as bike repair stations, bicycle parking, and/or bicycle shelters.
Partially Dedicated Lane
Other Payment Strategies
Houston-Galveston Area Council