The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) named Houston METRO its 2020 "Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award." METRO President & CEO Tom Lambert made the announcement at the transit authority's August board meeting. Lambert commended staff for its contributions to the organization and the community, and thanked board members for their leadership and support.
This is the second time in five years and the third time in the agency's history to receive the award.
The annual award acknowledges excellence among public transportation providers in North America. APTA Award winners are touted as role models of excellence, leadership, and innovation whose accomplishments have greatly advanced public transportation.
METRO competed and won in the awards category for largest transit agencies, those providing at least 20 million or more passenger trips annually. The authority was judged on safety, operations and maintenance, customer service, financial management, sustainability, workforce development, attendance and employee costs, diversity and inclusion, equity, marketing, policy administration, and community relations. Quantitative measures including ridership were also considered.
METRO marked several achievements that were factored in the award selection. Highlights include:
- METRO's proactive response to Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The authority was called a “model for emergency response” by APTA and awarded with the organization's highest honor for bus safety and security excellence.
- METRO's development of METRONext, a transformative long-range transportation plan for the Houston region. Overwhelming passage of bonding authority for the plan — nearly 70% voter approval — was possible because of a robust public engagement process.
- METRO's continued commitment to accessibility. METRO's Universal Accessibility Initiative ensures all bus stops are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act by 2024. Additionally, the launch of My Stop Technology made METRO one of the first transit agencies to fully implement Bluetooth technology to improve trip navigation accessibility.
METRO and the rest of this year’s award winners will be honored at an APTA Virtual Meeting in October.