For their piece on food deserts this week, National Geographic led off with this map of Houston. It shows where large numbers of people who lack cars are located more than 1/2 mile from a grocery store.
“Public transportation may not fill the gap,” the article says, but sometimes it can. The article doesn’t mention it, but Houston METRO’s proposed System Reimagining will actually liberate many people, but not all, from the “food desert” problem.
One thing is for sure: When we’re talking about errand trips like groceries, most customers don’t have a lot of time. If there’s a line to check out of the grocery store, and you miss an hourly bus, you’d better not have bought anything that needs refrigeration, and certainly nothing frozen. So as always, frequency is freedom.
So if you need frequency, Houston’s transit system today is basically willing to take you downtown, which is not likely to be the path to your nearest grocery story. Here’s the frequent network today.