H Gac

Transportation Nation

Houston Organization Challenges Citizens to Not Use Car During August

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

(Houston, TX)  Getting to work in Houston without a car? Or at least a car that has more than one passenger? The Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) is asking Houstonians to do just that throughout the month of August with their project My Solution Is. They’re also looking for input from the public on new alternatives to one-adult-per-car commuting.

CEO of METRO, George Greanias says commuters can choose from a number of their transit options: “We provide park and ride service at twenty-nine lots around the city, we do about a hundred miles of HOV lanes that people are using and that our park and ride facilities are using.”

But that may be a challenge. A recent survey by The Brookings  Institution ranked the city 72 out of 100 metropolitan cities for access by any form of transit other than automobile.

Greanias acknowledges there’s still a lot of work to do, “We’re not satisfied though with what’s in place. We’re looking to build more. We’re looking at extending certain bus routes and we’re building these light rail lines all of which are designed to give people again an option besides their automobile.”

Transport Director with the H-GAC Alan Clark calculates that Houston commuters who rely on their cars spend about $1300 dollars annually getting to and from work. Clark feels that it’s really the time spent in traffic where commuters lose out. “There’s all kinds of impacts even if it’s just the fact that you’re losing the equivalent of a full week in lost time stuck in traffic (per year).  That’s a week you could have either been working or with your family or just doing whatever you like to do,” says Clark.
A number of local businesses will talk to their employees about trying an alternate method of transit at least one day in the month of August. Seventeen management districts within Harris County and Fort Bend County are also playing a big part.

For the full story, listen to the radio version at KUHF.

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Transportation Nation

After School Lets Out: "One Hundred Deadliest Days for Drivers"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

(Houston, Texas) In Texas they call it the “One Hundred Deadliest Days for Drivers”.  It’s the summer stretch where students are finished school and taking to the roads. Statistics from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety say 366 of all fatal collisions were caused by teenagers in 2009, the most recent year statistics were available.

Now the Houston-Galveston Area Council is trying to reduce that number through a new documentary “Chronicles of a Teen Killer”.

Jeff Kaufman, Transport Safety Coordinator with the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) says the idea started with local police Assistant Chief Vicky King.  “She had come up with the idea that she wanted to do a documentary about the dangers of driving while intoxicated and gear it towards younger drivers."

Erica Moriarty, a local high school senior, was one of 13 teens recruited to work on the project. Moriarty would regularly see her peers drinking too much at parties -- and think it was okay to drive home.

The documentary  opens with a young girl slurring her words saying how she wanted to “get drunk and get her party on." The same teen later on admits that she plans on driving home. Some of the teen producers went to the local detox facility and the morgue to see the real side of what drinking and driving can do.

One of these stories in the documentary is told by ‘Milly’. Milly was 17 when she got drunk and drove her three friends home -- one of whom, Danny, never made it. While recording for the documentary Moriarty  said Milly’s story was so powerful that the room was silent, “We were a team of 13 teenagers, we were never quiet we were always talking. I just remember that being super impactful because it really showed what the consequences are in just one person.”

Although the accident happened seven years ago, while recounting it Milly breaks down and tearfully relates how much her one mistake cost everyone, including herself. “I had everything in my world. I had amazing parents and family and I had my whole life in front of me and Danny had, Danny had her whole life ahead of her. She was smart and amazing and the center of everyone’s world…everyone loved her So I took her promising future and all the opportunities that she was gonna have away from her.”

Since its release five weeks ago the documentary has received nearly six thousand hits on YouTube.

For the full story, listen to the radio version at KUHF.

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