|Category||Indicator||Value||Rank (Harris County)||Harris County||City of Houston||Year|
"-" means data not available
Motor vehicle traffic crashes, one of the leading causes of death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, constitute a major public safety issue. While all other traffic deaths decreased between 2007-2016, pedestrian deaths increased by 27 percent nationally. The Houston Region, number fifteen on the list of most dangerous metros for walking in the United States, has seen increases in pedestrian fatalities since 2010 and has also witnessed a steady rate of bicycle fatalities. Neighborhoods that lack safe street infrastructure more acutely feel this danger. Dr. Dian Nostikasari and Grant Patterson at the Kinder Institute, utilizes responses collected in Houston’s Gulfton neighborhood to highlight how safety, perceptions of safety, and built-environment conditions impact the ability of residents to carry out daily activities and access important destinations such as work and school.
Read the full report here.
This map displays responses that mentioned specific street intersections, addresses, and landmarks such as schools, grocery stores, and neighborhood parks. These includes places residents would not walk to and where they have either witnessed near-miss and crash incidents or been hit themselves. Detailed comments also point out to crime in addition to traffic safety.
This study shows that Gulfton respondents feel very positively about sidewalks being present on most neighborhood streets and that sidewalks connect to bus stops. For example, 48 percent of Gulfton respondents agree most neighborhood streets have sidewalks and 32 percent strongly agree. However, opinions about sidewalks are not entirely positive. Respondents split when asked whether sufficient streetlights were present and about sidewalks condition.
This chart shows that Gulfton respondents overwhelmingly agree that bus services are reliable and that routes connect to important destinations. However, worries about safety and comfort both walking to and waiting at bus stops discourage use. Half of the respondents feel safe walking or biking to bus stops (53 percent agree or strongly agree, 47 percent disagree or strongly disagree). Respondents are similarly split on feeling safe waiting at bus stops (51 percent either agree or strongly agree that they feel safe and comfortable at bus stops).
Bicycle safety is also a major concern in Gulfton. With the high number of newly settled immigrants and refugees living in Gulfton, bicycles provide an alternative to access important destinations. To meet that need, organizations have worked to provide free bicycles as an alternative transportation mode for refugees. While the neighborhood lacks formal infrastructure, some residents may have a self-identified bike route not alligned with those identified by the city. To reflect this reality, we use the term “bike route” instead of “bikeways” or “bike lanes” in asking questions about bicycle facilities. It should be noted that only three respondents use bikes for getting to work and only six bike to other destinations. The overall negative view of the existing infrastructure might point to one reason why those numbers are so low.
Efforts to improve street safety in the Houston region are tied to residents’ ability to access socioeconomic opportunities using different travel modes. Gulfton has the potential to be a more walkable neighborhood because various community resources, commercial activities, schools and residential units are often within walking or biking distance. The Gulfton street assessment is supplemented by a community survey that identifies vehicle-related crashes or near-miss incidents in the neighborhood. The study finds that although Gulfton is somewhat walkable and is well served by public transit, some areas face safety issues related to crime and traffic. This assessment can provide a starting guide for future investments and build upon existing efforts. Read the full report here.
This interactive map shows the locations of existing sidewalks (blue) and segments that do not have a sidewalk (red). It also highlights the sidewalks that contain trip hazards such as overgrowth, uneven surface cover or gaps and other obstructions (yellow).
Click the Layer List button at the BOTTOM LEFT to toggle schools/bus stop layers.
Click on the Street Segments on the map to get the details.View map full screen Download Data