The Case for MPO Reform in Texas: The Findings of the Texas Transportation Equity Assessment

Friday Feb. 3, 2017 , 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.


Of the 203 people with voting seats on the decision making entities at the 9 largest Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in the State of Texas, only 41 are women. Non-hispanic white Texans make up 40% of the people of these 9 MPOs, but hold 59% of the voting seats. Yet these numbers somewhat hide the depth of the problem, with the large number of seats held by Hispanics in the MPOs along the border counterbalancing the lack of seats held by people of color in Houston and Dallas - Fort Worth.

The Houston - Galveston Area Council oversees about $3 billion in annual transportation spending for the nation’s most diverse major metropolitan region that is home to 1/4 of the people of Texas. Of the 28 members of the H-GAC Transportation Policy Council, only two are women, only one is Black, one is Asian, and one is Hispanic.

Texans again and again cite transportation problems as one of their top concerns. However things seem to get worse even though the legislature keeps sending more money down the line. Can we effectively plan a transportation system for the expected 52 million diverse Texans of 2050 if we continue to exclude most Texans from the transportation decision making system? How does inequitable MPO decision making impact access to work, education, transit, safe streets, walking, biking, or affordable housing locations?

This talk will explore these issues and more from a recently completed crowdfunded research project, the Texas Transportation Equity Assessment, and establish a framework for reform of Texas MPOs.

{{For more info and to read the report:}}


After a decade in Austin and a Masters in Public Affairs from the LBJ School, Jay Blazek Crossley moved home to Houston and worked for the last decade for Houston Tomorrow, an independent nonprofit think tank dedicated to improving the quality of life for the 6.5 million people of the Houston region. He has served on Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Traffic and Transportation Transition Team, the City of Houston Bicycle Advisory Committee, the LISC-Houston Programs Committee, and the Houston - Galveston Area Council Our Great Region 2040 Bylaws Subcommittee. He co-founded the Houston Access to Urban Sustainability Project - an affordable transit-oriented cooperative housing organization - and chaired the Houston - Galveston Area Council’s Pedestrian and Bicyclist Subcommittee. Following a decade back in Houston, Crossley has just moved back to Austin with his wife and son to pursue a statewide policy change agenda.

NOTE: time change for spring semester is 12:30 p.m. instead of usual 12:00 p.m.


{first come, first serve}

See you there!