H-GAC coordinates Local Active Transportation Studies in areas where there are significant opportunities to replace vehicle trips with pedestrian or bicycle trips, based on local destinations, land use, density, demographics, and other factors.

These studies are a key part of H-GAC’s Pedestrian-Bicyclist Program, as they identify specific infrastructure improvements that can improve pedestrian and bicyclist mobility within high-priority districts. The recommendations of these studies have guided regional investments in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.

Please note, as of October 2019, Special District Studies will be called Local Active Transportation Studies. Prior studies will remain listed as Special District Studies.

Local Active Transportation Studies

2004 Special Districts Study

This study examines a range of factors that influence the demand for bicycle and pedestrian travel in a given area including destinations, demographic characteristics, density of employment and population, and existing rates of walking and biking.

2010 Special Districts Study

The 2010 update to the original Special Districts study uses current and newly-available data. The results of the updated study will guide the selection of future pedestrian and bicycle district master plans and inform both the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan update and the Regional Bikeway Plan update.

Airline Improvement District

The Airline Improvement District Study provides recommendations for the Airline Improvement District in Harris County, centered on the flea markets along Airline Drive between Mitchell Road and Gulf Bank Road. Completed in 2009.

Clear Lake

The Clear Lake Pedestrian & Bicyclist Study represents a significant opportunity for the City of Houston to improve walking and biking for its citizens, expand the network of bicycle facilities and connect to regional corridors and planned projects for both recreational and utility trips.

Fifth Ward

The main focus of the Fifth Ward Study is the southeastern Fifth Ward and its connections to Downtown. This study seeks to improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, provide greater connectivity within the study area, and reinforce the linkages to Downtown and other destinations such as Buffalo Bayou.

Galveston Island

The Galveston Island Study provides recommendations for the urban portion of the island, from 1st to 53rd Streets, and from Harborside Drive to the Seawall. This area of the City has very high rates of existing walking, bicycling, and transit usage with 15.5 percent of all work trips using these modes. Completed in 2006.

Greenway Plaza

H-GAC is partnering with Cousins Properties and the City of Houston to identify projects, policies, and programs that could make it easier to walk and bike around Greenway Plaza, one of Houston’s largest employment centers. H-GAC is currently working with a team of experts and local stakeholders to develop recommendations on how public and private entities can work together to improve mobility for pedestrians and cyclists.

Since late 2015, the project team has been talking to people that live, work, and play in Greenway Plaza. Based on feedback received, preliminary recommendations have been developed. A webinar describes potential improvements to the local pedestrian and bicycle network.


The Gulfton Special District Study provides recommendations for the Gulfton area, comprised of the Gulfton and Woodlake/ Briarmeadow areas, and bounded by Bissonnet to the south, Westheimer to the north, Hillcroft to the west, and Chimney Rock to the east. This area is the densest residential neighborhood in Houston and contains a high percentage of households (16 percent) without a vehicle. Completed in 2005.


Missouri City

The Missouri City Pedestrian and Bicyclist Special District Study provides recommendations for segments of FM 2234 (Texas Parkway), FM 3345 (Cartwright Road), FM 1092 (Murphy Road), and State Highway 6. Completed in 2009. See also see the Interactive Version of this study.


The Montrose Study identifies physical improvements and recommended policies to improve biking and walking in this area of Houston characterized by compact development, a dense street grid, transit service, commercial destinations, and a young, well-educated population with a high propensity to walk and bike. Completed in 2005.

Spring Branch Trail

To explore the opportunities and challenges to pursue this regional trail, the Houston-Galveston Area Council and Spring Branch Management District established this effort to take the trail concept to the next step towards implementation. The Spring Branch area is a location where there are significant opportunities to replace vehicle trips with walking and biking trips, supporting the Local Active Transportation Plan Program goals.

Sugar Land Town Center

The Sugar Land Special District Study provides recommendations for the Town Center Area in the City of Sugar Land, a mixed use center located at the intersection of US 59 (Southwest Freeway) and State Highway 6. Completed in 2007.

Third Ward Pilot Project

The Third Ward Pilot Project report, completed in October 2004, documents district identification, sponsor selection, community planning workshops, public involvement and project selection processes. The study area lies within the Third Ward of the City of Houston and is bounded by IH-45, Scott Street, Old Spanish Trail, and Almeda. Descriptions of the selected projects and their expected benefits are also covered.