Mayor Sylvester Turner and Together for Safer Roads (TSR), a coalition of leading companies, launched a program called Houston Safer Streets Phase 1 in the Gulfton neighborhood on April 17. The program aims to make the city’s streets and roads safe for pedestrians, bus riders, bicyclists, drivers, wheel chair users and others.
Gulfton, perhaps the most densely populated community in Texas and often a first U.S. home for immigrants, has been the location of a high number of vehicle-pedestrian collisions and near-misses as families walk children to and from school and workers rush to board buses. A relatively large number of Gulfton residents rely on mass transit, bicycles and walking to get around.
“The safety of our communities continues to be a top priority,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “I am thrilled to be working with Together for Safer Roads, its member companies, and community partners to ensure that we make Houston a safe place for all the community members that call this great city home.”
Gulfton is among the first five neighborhoods in the mayor’s Complete Communities initiative designed to leverage government, nonprofit and private sector resources to improve under-served neighborhoods.
Working alongside Mayor Turner, local community organizations and other stakeholders, TSR will provide an initial $125,000 in cash and resources to the Gulfton project as Houston Public Works devotes $500,000 in intersection improvement funds to signalized pedestrian crossings on Hillcroft, wider sidewalks, new curbs, delineated bike safety lanes and more.
- Community Engagement: TSR will support a community-based planning effort and a transportation-related STEM education program. Community leaders and students will work with their neighbors to identify and define road safety problems. The STEM program will use the local safety project as a learning lab for local students and expose them to career paths in engineering, planning, data and computer science, data and visual analytics and construction. All of this will be done in partnership with the City to make safety improvements.
- Measurement of Results: TSR will work with the Rice University Kinder Institute and Brisk Synergies to measure and assess progress. In consultation with Houston Public Works, researchers will conduct a before-and-after analysis of crashes, injuries and fatalities. Building on Kinder’s previous work, this rapid analysis will give engineers insights as they develop the improvements, and once the project is implemented, it will allow stakeholders to evaluate it quickly, make adjustments and bring findings to future projects.
- Community Improvement Funds: TSR will provide seed funding for the Community Engagement and Measurement pillars of the project, and the City of Houston will provide at least a five-fold match to build out the improvements. Priority infrastructure projects have been identified in Mayor Turner’s “Gulfton Complete Communities Action Plan.” This phase 1 project will also help develop a strategy to assess future safety and mobility improvements.
Mayor Turner, his agency staff and their community partners have laid a strong foundation to make life-saving improvements in Gulfton,” said David Braunstein, president of Together for Safer Roads. “We are excited to catalyze real change on the streets and create models in Houston and in Gulfton that cities around the world can follow.”
Anheuser-Busch and AT&T are founding members of Together for Safer Roads, which started in 2014 with the goal of driving solutions to address key road safety issues and help prevent traffic injuries and deaths globally. Both Anheuser-Busch and AT&T sit on the organization’s governing board along with other major global companies. TSR’s Safer Cities program is a signature initiative for the coalition. By combining private sector skill and resources with public sector commitments, this program has helped communities in Asia, Latin America and North America to significantly improve, traffic safety results.
ABOUT TOGETHER FOR SAFER ROADS
Together for Safer Roads is a global NGO that works with government, businesses and community stakeholders on local projects, fleet safety management and technology initiatives to prevent traffic crashes, injuries and deaths. TSR was started in conjunction with the UN's Decade of Road safety and has partners around the world. TSR’s members include AB InBev, AIG, AT&T, CalAmp, Republic Services, Lyft, Ericsson, GM, iHeartMedia, Octo Telematics, Geotab, PepsiCo, UPS, Walmart and others. Learn more at www.togetherforsaferroads.org.