Houston-Galveston Area Council
Metropolitan Transit Authority
Saurage-Thibodeaux Research, Inc.
This project is an example of how social science research can lead to programs that put the customer first. The Houston-Galveston Area Council is a voluntary association of governments and local elected officials in a thirteen county area of Texas populated by approximately 4.3 million people. Their goal is to help the region attain the air quality ozone standard by 2007. The council partnership focused on marketing travel options before and after various stages of an on going clean air program. Extensive demographic studies - especially focus groups and ridership surveys - evaluated the public's awareness of ozone's health impact and proper vehicle maintenance, and measured METRO ridership during and after a subsidy period. The research findings led to a public awareness campaign that stressed "convenience" over "altruism" as a motivator for improving air quality. The research helped contribute to record breaking increases in METRO ridership and provides an example of how public involvement is a major key in any successful program.