One of the best parts of living in the Bay Area is how removed we can be from the hustle and bustle of downtown Houston, but how quick we can get there...that is when there isn't traffic on I-45.

In order for our community to continue to grow and prosper, we need to deal with our ever growing congestion problem. On Christmas Eve, it doesn't take more than 35 minutes to get from the Galveston County line up to downtown Houston, but every Monday, many of us spend nearly an hour commuting back and forth - losing time with our families and our work. Not to mention polluting the environment.

This isn't a red or blue issue - we all get stuck in traffic. It's time for a more integrated transportation system that wastes less time, supports our growth, and invests in an environmentally sustainable future for our children.

So what does that mean?

We need to provide more funds to Houston Metro and other stakeholders and demand that they can expand bus access

Many communities on the I-10 corridor, outside the Beltway, have many bus lines servicing their area. If Metro can go out that far, how come we only have two lines servicing our area: Sagemont (88) and Bay Area Park and Ride (246). And we know that San Jacinto South and University of Houston-Clear Lake would be interested in a bus service to help students from all across our area come to their campuses. Removing these cars from the road would do wonders to help ease congestion.

Your state representative should work with Houston Metro and all relevant stakeholders to expand reliable transportation coverage and reduce the number of cars on the road.

We need to be supportive of private efforts to establish high speed rail

For many years now, Texas has had four of the top growing cities in the country in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. One of our strengths has been our interstate highways. But anyone who drives between these cities knows how backed up our roads can get. If private developers want to build new transportation options between our cities (and give the airlines some competition for our business), we should support their efforts and make sure that land owners are fairly compensated.

We need to work with innovative transportation providers to release their carpooling product

As a transportation analyst at Uber, I know the most important aspects of transportation are reliability and cost. Transportation network companies, like Uber, Lyft and others, excel at both.

Uber, Lyft, Via and others offer carpooling products - if two riders are headed the same way (like into downtown Houston), the app will connect them with the same driver and they can split the cost, not to mention use the HOV lane. It doesn't matter if you live in Seabrook or Friendswood, or are ready at 8:12 or 9:45 that morning, the app will find you a match.

But they don't offer it here in Houston - we need work with these companies to provide that service here in the Bay Area, reducing costs and freeing up space on our roads. 

We need to expand the use of bike lanes in our community

While many of our trips downtown require a car, some of our more local trips can be made on a bike. We need to explore all avenues for increasing bike lanes, ensuring they are safe, and giving everyone another transportation option.