UMR Index


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Score: 56.9%

Sustainable Mobility


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Score: 40.2%

Public Transit


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Score: 47.1%

Population 6.6 million
Surface area (km2) 4,931
Population-density (people/km2) 1,339
GDP per capita ($) 83,557
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What Houston Does Well in Urban Mobility

Houston has well-connected and maintained roads and a robust traffic management system. The city is undergoing a $9 billion highway reconstruction plan that will enable more multimodal options like walking and cycling.

Government investment in connected and automated vehicle technologies has fostered an innovative ecosystem, with an automated rideshare service to enter the city's mobility market in 2023.

Urban Mobility Readiness Index, Sustainable Mobility and Public Transit scores

Challenges and Opportunities for Houston’s Transportation System

Limited active mobility infrastructure and an insufficient public transit system have inhibited commuters' ability to shift from private car usage. However, the city’s $7.5 billion plan to expand its mobility offering in parallel with an expected population growth includes 16 miles of light rail and 75 miles of rapid bus service.

Despite continued government investment in electric vehicles (EVs), residents have been slow to switch to EVs partially due to limited charging station availability. Texas’ plan to implement charging points every 50 miles on most interstate highways will boost station availability.

Dimensions of the Urban Mobility Readiness Index score

How Houston Can Improve Its Public Transportation and Sustainable Mobility

With most of Houston's trips completed by personal cars, the city lags behind its peer Boston in terms of car ownership: Houston residents own an average of 1.5 times more cars than Bostonians. The city can discourage personal car use by limiting parking and introducing car-free zones to heavily walked areas. The city would need to offer alternative mobility options by promoting public transit, active mobility, and shared mobility such as car-sharing or ride-hailing. Houston can also improve its public transit offering and develop bike lanes or bike-sharing expansions.

Houston's public transit system is underutilized, with commuters often opting for different transportation options. Houston would need to increase their ridership sevenfold to be a leading public transit city in North America. The city can increase station density to limit walk times for commuters by adding routes and stops for buses and streetcars to help connect residents with metro stations — a costeffective improvement that would help lower walking distances and overall commute times. In the long term, extending existing metro lines and adding new lines will be key to building out the city's public transit offering for residents, but that effort will be a time-intensive and expensive undertaking. However, Houston’s previously mentioned plans show strong progress.

Comparative Urban Mobility Readiness Index scores