The Houston-Galveston Area Council's annual mobility report is like a year- over-year report card for the area's stated transportation goals.
When it comes to safety, the news is bad: Both the vehicle crash rate and the overall number of vehicle crashes went up in 2016.
But for transit, the numbers are more promising. Transit ridership in the area grew by 4 million passenger boardings in 2016 for a total of 90 million.
The region also made positive progress in some other areas: improving pavement condition on the roads, increasing the percentage of buses that are on time and maintaining stable physical conditions for the area's bridges. But the news on safety overwhelmingly negative as crashes involving cars, bicycles and pedestrians all increased from 2015, along with fatalities, serious injuries and crash-related costs.
Houston isn't alone. Nationally, the number of crash-related deaths has been climbing in recent years, with pedestrians and bicyclists accounting for a larger share of the deaths. Some observers have said it's because more folks are walking and bicycling. As some cities embrace Vision Zero policies, like Los Angeles' mission to end traffic deaths by 2025, more attention is being paid to how street designs often clash with multi-modal mobility goals.
As the Houston region grows, increases in the number of crashes could be expected to keep pace with roughly 2 percent population growth between 2015 and 2016. But not only have the number of crashes increased but the rate has as well, and increases in fatalities and crash-related costs outpaced population growth. A look at some of the report's major findings, with more detail below