Because the Houston region’s growth is expected to outpace expansion of highways and transportation infrastructure, efforts to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles on the region’s congested roadways are critical. The annual 2012 Urban Mobility Report found that in 2011 the greater Houston region experienced about 145,832,000 hours of traffic delay at a cost of $3,120,000,000. In other words, each vehicle experienced about 52 hours of delay at a cost of $1,090 per person in the region.
The Houston region is currently home to about 6.5 million residents. According to H-GAC’s Regional Growth Forecast, a steady growth pattern over the next 30 years means that the region’s population is expected to reach 10 million people by 2040. Given that 75 percent of the population aged 16 to 64 years actively participates in the workforce, the region’s infrastructure will need to be able to transport more commuters to and from work sites across the region—whether physically or by virtual means such as teleworking or telecommuting.
The future of the greater Houston region is bright:
- Fourth in the nation in regional gross domestic product, in 2013 the Houston region’s economy grew more than any other in the United States.
- Approximately 1.5 million jobs will be added by 2040, for a total of almost 4 million. 
The consequences of population and economic growth include increased vehicular travel (expected to increase by about 60 percent above current levels by 2040) and freight movement (expected to double by 2040).
 Summary Charts of H-GAC 2015 Q2 Forecast, H-GAC, www.h-gac.com/community/socioeconomic/2040-regional-growth-forecast/default.aspx
 Work Status in the Past 12 Months, Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land Metro Area, 2009-2013 American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau
Congestion and Construction
The greater Houston region experiences recurring traffic congestion during morning and evening peak travel times on many highway segments. In fact, the Texas Department of Transportation’s annual list of the top 100 congested highway segments notes that as of August 2014, the greater Houston region contained more than 35 of the top 100 most congested highway segments in Texas.
In addition, ongoing construction on US 290 and programmed construction along IH 45 North and US 59 South exacerbate already heavy traffic flow (Figure 2). Particularly during large construction projects such as these, it is important to understand commuters’ interest in and access to alternative transportation programs and incentives. The region has ongoing efforts to manage congestion using many tools and resources. The H-GAC Travel Options Planning and Research Study seeks to provide information to help the region better address commuter and employer preferences.
 Appendix I: Congestion management Process, 2040 Regional Transportation Plan, H-GAC, www.h-gac.com/taq/plan/2040/docs/Appendix%20I%20CMP.pdf
Journey to Work, Current
The 2009 National Household Travel Survey found that commuting to and from work sites accounts for just 16 percent of all passenger vehicle trips in Texas. The most common trip purposes were family/personal business (42 percent) and social/recreational (26 percent). Although commute trips represent a relatively small portion of total passenger trips, their impact is great. Commute trips are largely responsible for congestion because the majority of these trips occur during morning and evening peak travel periods.
The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the American Community Survey on a rolling basis each year. The most recent data, 2009–2013, for the nine-county Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land Metropolitan Statistical Area revealed that 80 percent of commuters drove alone to work most days, with the remaining 20 percent employing alternatives such as carpool, vanpool, working from home, public transit, walking, and other means:
- 80 percent drove alone.
- 11 percent carpooled or vanpooled.
- 3 percent worked at home (i.e., telecommuted).
- 4 percent used public transit.
- 9 percent used other means.
- 4 percent walked.
 Passenger Travel by Trip Purpose, Texas Transportation by the Numbers, U.S. Department of Transportation, www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/texas_11x17.pdf