METRONext: Cleaner, greener transportation for Houston

Released by: Environment Texas

On November 5, Houston area residents can improve our transportation system, while taking on climate change and reducing air pollution, by approving the METRONext plan. METRONext will expand light rail, create a new rapid transit bus system, and improve bus service across Houston - providing more of us with clean, efficient travel options. 

Election: Nov 5, 2019. Early Voting: Oct 21, 2019 - Nov 1, 2019

Traffic pollutes Houston’s air 

Vehicles travel 48 billion miles on Houston area roadways every year, polluting our air with smog and particulate soot and fueling climate change. 

  • Vehicles are the top source of greenhouse gas pollution in the city of Houston, emitting more than 19 million metric tons each year. 

  • Houston suffers from the nation’s ninth-worst ozone pollution. In Harris County, cars and trucks account for half of nitrogen oxide pollution, which leads to the ozone smog that contributes to dozens of premature deaths in Greater Houston each year. 

METRONext will reduce air pollution and carbon emissions 

METRONext, a forward-looking plan to improve public transportation that will come before voters on November 5, would expand transportation options for local residents while reducing air pollution and improving public health. 

  • With METRONext, by 2040 the METRO system will eliminate 500,000 auto trips a day and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 680,000 metric tons each year. 

  • Houston’s electric light rail trains emit no ground-level pollution. METRO is deploying diesel-electric hybrid buses that cut smog-forming pollution by as much as 50 percent compared to conventional buses, and is considering the use of fully electric buses. 

METRO already delivers environmental benefits 

METRONext will build on the environmental and health benefits delivered by Houston’s existing transit system. 

  • METRO keeps thousands of cars out of downtown Houston each day, eliminating demand for 65,000 parking spots downtown. 

  • METRO cuts 235,000 auto trips each day, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 300,000 metric tons per year. 

  • A 2019 study found that the Red Line light rail service has led to significant reductions in harmful carbon monoxide and toluene air pollution in neighboring communities. 

METRONext is critical to Houston’s future 

Over the next 20 years, the Houston area is expected to add 10 million residents and 4.5 million jobs. Research from the University of Houston has found that, without changes, traffic could increase by up to 80 percent, increasing dangerous fine particulate matter and smog-forming pollution. 

To build a future with less pollution and less traffic, Houston must invest in a cleaner, more modern transportation system. 

METRONext will expand and improve transit in Houston 

The November METRONext bond ballot measure would raise $3.5 billion to bring new transportation options to millions of Houston residents, allowing more people to skip traffic in favor of modern and fast bus and light rail travel. 

Highlights of the METRONext plan include: 

  • A new 75-mile METRORapid bus rapid transit network that provides fast, convenient bus service similar to light rail, and will include a connection between downtown Houston and George Bush Intercontinental Airport. 

  • Approximately 16 miles of new light rail, including an extension to William P. Hobby Airport. 

  • A 25 percent increase in local bus service, with new routes, new bus shelters, and real-time passenger information. 

  • More than 100 miles of new or improved high-occupancy vehicle lanes to improve highway bus travel.