Leveraging transit-based investment to retrofit urban corridors in Houston, Texas
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Public transportation and infrastructure development continue to be a part of the evolving agenda in growing cities. Despite projects in the past and ongoing efforts, public transportation has been only limited success in its assimilation in the lifestyle of Americans. I take the example of Houston, where there are already existing rail lines through downtown and the existing bus service has just been revamped. In addition, planning efforts towards a bus-oriented Transitway through the Post Oak boulevard project seem to be incorporating transit oriented infrastructure. In this report, I investigate the relationship between transit and development along Houston’s Westheimer Road corridor through analysis of the existing conditions and framework. I assimilate the necessary components to create the structure of a successful project. I do so by researching the existing literature and the best practices to understand the framework and nature of Bus Rapid Transit and its financial implications. Building on those lines, I strategize to create a structure of stakeholder involvement through collaboration to achieve a successful corridor project. In this study, I add on to the ongoing transit oriented development movement in Houston by proposing a Bus Rapid Transit corridor along Westheimer Road. In addition, I propose street infrastructure development to support and enhance the quality of the public realm in the corridor. Through this approach I explore the intersection of urban design and transportation planning, and their significance to a holistic approach. Further, I analyze this proposal for financial feasibility through proforma research and corroborating strategies for implementation. Finally, I make the case that to be successful, transit projects need to involve a critical component of design and finance.