NewUrbanStreets

Sharring experiences in urban infrastructure delivery.
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Communication–Congestion Mitigation

By: Tom Davis Category: Project Communication, Traffic Congestion

Getting caught in traffic and sitting in a long line of cars as traffic lights cycle is a lousy way to start or end the day. But that does not make up for not knowing there was a wreck, the street or lanes are closed for construction or it is the weekend and a parade or fun run has blocked my route.

In downtown Houston the Downtown District provides an information accumulation and distribution to help you know before you go. I have produced and distributed since 2001 for the District a weekly email with the Downtown Streets.jpgclosures for the coming weekend and following week. The district also  supports  www.DowntownStreets.com that I built and maintain where drivers can see a map of downtown with the long-term closures, a hot links menu on the home page for quick references, and an extensive page of alternate routes into and out of downtown.

Both the email and the web site are simple – no glitz – intending only to provide information. I am proud of the frequent comments that people look forward to the email and glad to know what is happening in the streets.

The email’s success in mitigating congestion is that property managers of the buildings check it to see if their tenants may be affected by a closure. If they are then the email or its contents are sent to the tenants who forward it to their employees. As that distribution can happen quickly traffic congestion for their trip home that day, return the next day, or trip in for a weekend outing, can avoid the congested area.

Each email is also distributed throughout the region by the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau so hotels and others can provide the best advice to guests when they are providing directions about how to access downtown.

Much credit for the success of the email and web site must go primarily to the Traffic and Transportation Branch of the City’s Department or Public Works and the Mayor’s Office of Special Events. Also when the Texas Department of Transportation is working n the interstates or highways that impact downtown they provide special info that is posted and distributed to help downtown drivers. Without those inside sources the info would not have the targeted value enjoyed by drivers and pedestrians in downtown.

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