Study: High-Tech Tools Across Houston Are Letting More Residents Live Car-Free

Feb. 7, 2015Houston Public Media

In a first-of-its-kind study, public policy organizations TexPIRG and Frontier Group ranked 70 U.S. cities on how many high-tech tools they have to help people get around without owning a personal vehicle.

The study looked at things like online bike share and car share services, ride sharing apps on smartphones, and real-time transit information.

130403_cityhall_bikeshare700px_1TexPIRG’s Sara Smith says Houston came in 15th, with eight of the tools.

“Houston has a taxi hailing app, bike share, which is a big one, open static data like Google Transit that allows people to map routes really effectively,” says Smith, TexPIRG’s program director.

She expects more of those transportation tools will soon become available.

“As Houston continues to be a really attractive place for young people to move, I think we’re going to see even more folks relying on these options as opposed to single occupancy travel,” Smith says.

Austin ranks first on that list, with all 11 of the high-tech tools that were mentioned in the study.

As it stands right now, figures show about 80 percent of Houston commuters drive to work by themselves.