Jamaal Schoby

Document Type


Date of Award



College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (COSET)

Degree Name

MS in Transportation Planning & Management

First Advisor

Carol A. Lewis, Ph.D.


Sun Belt metropolitan regions are experiencing a population growth in suburban communities, and a portion of the suburbanites are commuting to the urban core for employment. These suburban communities are spawning up outside the urban core and are separated by large masses of land with no linkage to the urban core. This phenomenon, known as urban sprawl is occurring in the Houston metropolitan region. Urban sprawl causes a challenge for transportation planners to provide adequate public transportation services in suburban communities throughout the Houston metropolitan region and other Sun Belt metropolitan regions. Although the urban core remains the largest populated area, an increased number of people who migrate to the Houston metropolitan region are settling in one of the seven suburban counties and commuting to the urban core for employment. This thesis assesses whether there is a need for increased public transportation options between Houston suburban counties and the urban core. 1 2 Current and forecasted population levels were analyzed in the Houston eight county region to determine the population trend during the next thirty years. Three Houston suburban counties that are forecasted to increase the most in population were analyzed in this thesis. A travel time index was applied to the freeway segments that connect the suburban county and urban core that proved automobile travel times during peak periods are escalate as an increased number of people settle in suburban counties. The last analysis applied the commuter need index to the three counties to determine if there was a need for commuter services to the urban core. The thesis found that as the population in the Houston metropolitan region increases throughout the next thirty years and freeway space reaches capacity, transportation planners will be required to develop innovative strategies to attract suburban commuters from their private automobiles to utilize additional means of transportation during peak periods