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No Subways in Houston — Why? 

No Subways in Houston — Why

Most countries have a subway system for a reason. Taking the subway can be an efficient mode of transportation when in a hurry to get downtown to go to the optometrist or to make it on time for your chiropractor appointment. 

Additionally, by taking the subway, people can save themselves a trip to the transmission shop and some extra cash instead of paying for car detailing services often. 

While the subway system has proved to be a cheaper mode of transportation in some cities worldwide, you won’t find anyone boarding the subways in Houston… because there are none. So, why not?  

Why are there no subways in Houston? 

There are three contributing factors as to why there is no subway system in Houston: cost, location, and the different mobility needs of the city of Houston. 


In the United States alone, the typical cost to build a subway system is approximately $350 million or more. That’s just per mile! 

By not using the city funds for a subway system, the city of Houston has invested in more apartments and corporate housing to keep up with the rising population. 


You may have heard that Houston was built on a swamp—that is not exactly true. 

Because there were no roads or roadways when Houston was established in 1836, the mode of transportation back then was by boat. 

So naturally, it made sense to build on the intersection of the two most widely used rivers back then: White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou. The land by these two rivers has a history of becoming swamp-like in humid/wet weather conditions and flooding.

Nowadays, due to constant flooding, the underground Houston is almost nonexistent. It’s shallow and relatively small due to the high water table and pumps the city of Houston utilizes to keep any underground facilities already built dry. 

If Houston were to build a subway system, the city officials would have to find another way to dig tunnels through a marshy environment and figure out a completely different waterproof barrier. 

The Mobility Needs of Houston

Since subway systems are not cost-friendly, the city of Houston has come up with different ways to meet the demand for public transportation. Such as the Metro Light Rail and the local bus system. 

Because the local bus and the Metro Light Rail have different routes, it’s a cheap and convenient way for people who don’t drive to get around the city of Houston. 

Moreover, some people have recently opted to take public transportation because of the rising gas prices. 

On the other hand, many prefer the comfort and the quickness of taking their own car everywhere. For some, comfort is better than saving a few extra dollars. 

Fortunately, the freeways throughout Houston are maintained and can carry an immense volume of traffic. So driving everywhere is not a problem. 

The freeways in Houston are also extensive and can take you throughout the entire state of Texas—that is, if you want to drive that far. 

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