Houston-Galveston Area Council

September 2013
In This Issue
TPC - August 23, 2013
2012 Mobility Report Now Online
Subregional Planning Initiative
Drive Clean Across Texas
DWI Task Force
Harris County RIDES Program
Environmental Excellence Awards
Mobility NOW en Español
Commute Solutions Transportation Fair
Clean Air Action Leadership Awards
Did you know...?
H-GAC in the News
Join Our Mailing List!
Meetings & Events
TAC - Wednesday, September 18, 2013
TPC - Friday, September 27, 2013
Operations Task Force
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
H-GAC Conference Rm B
3555 Timmons Lane
Houston, TX 77027
Clean Cities Coalition
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
H-GAC Conference Room C


Commute Solutions Transportation Fair
Thursday, September 12, 2013
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The Shops at Greenway Plaza
Houston, TX 77046
Brown Bag Lunch Series
Monday, September 16, 2013
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
H-GAC Conference Rm A 
2013 Clean Air Action Leadership Awards Luncheon
Thursday, September 19, 2013
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel 
6 E Greenway Plaza
Houston, TX 77046
H-GAC's YouTube Channel 
Click to subscribe! 

Transportation Policy Council - August 23, 2013

On Friday, August 23, 2013, the Transportation Policy Council (TPC) passed an amendment to the 2013-2016 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and to the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) Update to program $160 million for the Uptown Busway project. This project will reconstruct and widen Post Oak Boulevard to include an exclusive center bus lane in each direction. The bus lanes will be extended south to a new transit terminal near Westpark Road and Post Oak. $61.8 million in federal funds will be matched by Uptown Houston and METRO who have allocated $75.5 million and $23 million, respectively, in local funds.


Harris County Public Infrastructure Executive Director Art Storey, Port of Houston Chair Janeice Longoria
TPC also approved a 30-day public comment period for the addition of seven transit projects to the 2035 RTP Update. These projects, located in Galveston and Brazoria Counties, total $63 million. Click here to review the proposed projects.
TPC accepted the nomination of Mike Wilson with the Port of Freeport as a voting member representing Intermodal Interests on the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). He replaces Nancy Stephens, also with the Port of Freeport. 


H-GAC's Hans-Michael Ruthe presented to TPC two Subregional Planning Initiative studies. The Pearland/Northern Brazoria County Study and the Ft. Bend County Study were completed in collaboration with local agencies and governments and provide insight into possible economic development projects. The Council formally accepted the studies. 


Mark Williams, Transportation Planning Director with TxDOT, was called on by TPC Chair Ed Emmett to clarify a TxDOT letter detailing a potential turnback progam to transfer responsibility to local governments of certain highways currently maintained by the state. You can listen to the audio here.

Mr. Williams returned to the podium to discuss progress on a study of SH 249. Improvements to safety, mobility, access and economic development are being studied, and TxDOT intends to initiate an environmental assessment this month.
H-GAC's Jeff Kaufman provided an update on the DWI Task Force. A year-long Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant allowed local law enforcement agencies to fund overtime pay of DWI patrols. The Task Force operated over holiday weekends and accounted for 175 arrests so far. A second grant as been approved.
TPC agenda with audio is available with one click

2012 Mobility Report Now Online

The 2012 Mobility Report from H-GAC is now available to the public online. The report summarizes key performance measures for our transportation system. It analyzes figures such as commuting costs, congestion on our roadways, safety improvements and environmental concerns.


The Houston-Galveston region contains one of the fastest growing economies in North America. A healthy transportation system remains a critical challenge to sustained regional job creation, economic prosperity and quality of life.


A record 144 million daily vehicle miles of travel are carried over the region's roadways on the average weekday. It is critical that these performance measures are analyzed for the betterment of our transportation system. The report intends to answer key questions: Are we meeting regional transportation goals? Are we moving in the right direction?


Click the image to view a PDF of the Mobility Report

Two Subregional Planning Studies Completed

H-GAC has concluded two subregional planning studies, which help qualify projects for future transportation funding. The subregions of central Fort Bend County and the northern Brazoria County/Pearland area were the focus of their respective studies, directed by local area stakeholders.


It is estimated that the Northern Brazoria County and Pearland workforce will grow to 130,000 - an increase of 75% - by the year 2040. Currently, daily commute times are significantly above average. The study highlights how connected transportation improvements and local projects could greatly reduce congestion time and provide relief to local commuters and future residents.


The Fort Bend County study tackled the second-largest county in H-GAC's planning area. It focuses on strengthening existing neighborhoods, enhancing transportation service to local economic activity centers, and enhancing links between roads, bikeways, transit, and pedestrian facilities. The study encompassed seven cities and 875 square miles.


H-GAC is managing the Subregional Planning Initiative (SPI) to help conceive and implement local transportation goals through long-range planning and locally specific implementation strategies. The process conforms to local stakeholder priorities and focuses on how to enhance transportation in the long-term through innovative strategies, coordination of transportation and land use, and local economic development initiatives.


Multiple subregional plans are currently underway. The materials are available here. For more information, contact Hans-Michael Ruthe at 713-993-2478 or

"Drive Clean" to Reduce Texas Pollution

In 2011, more than 10 million people lived in the three areas of Texas that do not meet EPA standards for air quality. These "nonattainment" areas are Houston/Galveston, Dallas/Fort Worth, and El Paso. Emissions from cars and trucks are responsible for half of all the air pollution in some parts of our state.


H-GAC has partnered with the Texas Department of Transportation in the "Drive Clean Across Texas" campaign, designed to combat vehicle emissions in our area.


Throughout the summer, "Drive Clean Across Texas" has been seen on billboards, gas pump toppers, radio announcements and online. Some tips for improving gas mileage, saving money at the pump and keeping the air clean include:

  • Check your vehicle's tire pressure about once a month. Under-inflated tires can cost an extra $85 a year in gas.
  • Get your car tuned-up on schedule. Driving a vehicle that is in need of maintenance can increase emissions and cost $120 more in gas each year.
  • Drive more efficiently. Aggressive driving-such as speeding and rapid starts and stops-can cost as much as $850 more in gas each year.
Visit by September 15th to sign up for a chance to win a 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid! Three lucky finalists will take part in a special ceremony to select the grand-prize winner at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 6, prior to the Cowboys vs. Broncos game.


DWI Task Force Continues to Keep Region Safe

With the Labor Day weekend ending, another dangerous time for area drivers has come to a close. The Houston-Galveston region continues to lead the state in alcohol-related traffic accidents, with 1,268 fatalities and 7,016 serious injuries occurring between 2007 and 2012.


In 2012, H-GAC received a Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant, allowing for the creation of a Regional DWI Task Force. This grant provides funds to law enforcement agencies to cover overtime costs. The DWI Task Force operates during the holidays and other times when driving under the influence occurs more frequently. Since the July 4th holiday, the program has made 175 DWI arrests. 


H-GAC has received a second year of funding for this initiative and is in the process of identifying potential participants. Approximately $271,000 in STEP funding will be made available. 

Harris County RIDES Offers Discounted Transportation for Seniors, People with Disabilities

Many residents of Harris County rely on public transportation, but due to certain limitations, some are unable to take advantage of it.


RIDES is a unique coordinated transportation program that provides specialized transportation for seniors and people with disabilities who live outside of the METROlift service area or are unable to access METRO services. To qualify, you must reside within Harris County and:

  • be 65+ years of age (proof of age required) or;
  • provide proof of disability (SSI Award letter or certification letter from your physician)

The program is a great option for those whom public transportation is either unavailable or inaccessible. It helps eligible residents make doctor's appointments, do grocery shopping or otherwise just get around and remain independent. The RIDES program has been funded in part by grants from the Federal Transit Administration's New Freedom program, which is coordinated locally by H-GAC and METRO.


In addition, as a mobility management function, RIDES+ provides Ambassador Services on the shared ride services for clients that need extra assistance to navigate from their door to the van or from the van into doctor's offices. Ambassadors also assist clients with small packages. This service is especially requested by clients that need hand-to-hand transfers.  


The RIDES program is set up to reduce the cost to the customers and also to be user friendly. It offers flexibility through a variety of service options including shared rides and same-day taxi service. For more information call (713) 368-7433 or visit the website at

Environmental Excellence Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 Texas Environmental Excellence Awards, the state's highest environmental honor. These annual awards recognize achievements across Texas that significantly reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and prevent pollution. Deadline for applications is Oct. 4.


The Texas Environmental Excellence Awards are presented annually by the governor's office and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. A governor's blue ribbon committee identifies outstanding contributions in nine diverse categories. The public may nominate an individual, community, company, or organization for an award. Award categories include: Agriculture, Civic/Community, Education, Individual, Innovative Operations/Management, Pollution Prevention, Technical/Technology, Water Conservation, and Youth.


To nominate an exemplary environmental effort for the 2014 awards, apply online at

Mobility NOW en Español Debuts Episode Three

H-GAC's transportation television program geared towards the Hispanic community is as educational as it is entertaining. Episode three brings helpful tips on commuting alternatives and safety tips in times of flooding.




Rick Guerrero gives us a peak into H-GAC's "Commute Solutions" program. He explains how you can save gas and time by vanpooling to work. Host Marco Bracamontes steps outside of the studio to discover how bicycling is a healthy way to commute to work. He interviews expert Conrad Hirsch who gives tips on this alternative transportation mode. Rosio Torres from the Harris County Office of Emergency Management offers advice for safe driving when our city floods.


Click the logo to watch the latest episode of Mobility NOW en Español! 

Commute Solutions Transportation Fair

H-GAC will host its annual "My Solutions Is..." Transportation Fair in The Shops area of Greenway Plaza on Thursday, September 12, 2013 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Come learn more about our clean air programs and ways to help keep our air clean for generations to come.


You may be aware of the air quality issues in our region, but did you know that you can help make a mysolutionis difference? H-GAC and its Commute Solutions Partners will be available to share information about commute alternatives, ways to reduce congestion and how to avoid traffic delays during your daily commute to work.


Commuters can pledge to carpool, vanpool, ride a bus or train, telework, bike or walk. Additionally, they can pledge to try other environmentally-friendly options such as combining errands and other trips, reducing idling or maintaining their vehicle properly. For more information about the Greenway Plaza Transportation Fair and how to make a pledge, visit

2013 Clean Air Action "Best in Motion" Leadership Awards Luncheon

Please join us as we recognize businesses and local governments for their outstanding leadership in implementing measures which reduce air pollutants within our eight-county region. This year's event will honor those organizations that encourage their employees to use commute alternatives and those organizations that have adopted clean fleet policies. The organizations honored will include newly designated Clean Air Champions.

Organizations receiving Clean Air Champion designations will also be recognized in the annual listing of Air Quality Award recipients in the Houston Business Journal. 
The keynote speaker will be Dr. Charles D. Fraser, Jr., Surgeon-in-Chief, Texas Children's Hospital. Dr. Fraser will provide insight on the impact of air pollution on health and the environment and the role we can all play to improve our air quality and the quality of life of the citizens in our region.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Registration - 11:00 a.m.

Luncheon - 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

6 E Greenway Plaza, Houston, TX 77046  

Did you know...?


H-GAC in the News 

H-GAC's Stephan Gage Talks Access Management with KUHF


All-electric Delivery Trucks Coming to Houston Area


Increasing Awareness of Commute Solutions


The Houston-Galveston Electric Truck Project 


Montgomery County Creates Overpass Task Force


H-GAC to Present Access Management Study to League City, Dickinson


Fort Bend Mobility Bond Receives Mayoral Support


H-GAC Visits Kingwood Library for AirCheck Texas

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Houston-Galveston Area Council | PO Box 22777 | Houston | TX | 77227-2777