A transportation concept for the Houston central business district
Burks, William Cook
Master of Architecture
In our increasingly specialized society, accessibility has become the key to the location of activities, and consequently the key to land development. The Houston Central Business District has continued to function and develop largely because of improved accessibility afforded by improvements in the regional automobile transportation network. There are physical limits, however, to the amount of traffic which can be delivered by this network or accommodated within the CBD, and studies indicate that these limits are now being approached. If the CBD Is to continue to develop, and demographic forecasts indicate that it should, then such development must be matched by improvements in accessibility, and such improvements will have to come largely from modes other than the private automobile. This thesis deals with the need for transportation improvements in the CBD, the technological means for making these Improvements, and a strategy for undertaking them. First, the CBD is analyzed, as it exists today, in terms of regional function, activity patterns, and available modes of travel. Second, a range of potential transit systems are listed and compared according to performance, space and scale characteristics, and a basis for a planning approach to transportation systems and technology is defined. Third, a series of sequentially staged transportation improvements are proposed and discussed in detail. These stages are presented to demonstrate the concept of an evolutionary transportation network which: a) improves accessibility in incremental steps to match growth and development; b) integrate modes of transportation to satisfy a variety of trip demands; c) combines short range and long range planning objectives in order to use the earlier stages as full scale tests of service and response; d) responds to technological and economic changes and developments by allowing for an opportunity to review and revise long range goals and objectives.