Christof Spieler | An Island Press Author

Christof Spieler

Christof Spieler, PE, LEED AP, is a Vice President and Director of Planning at Huitt-Zollars and a Senior Lecturer at Rice University. He was a member of the board of directors of Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) from 2010 to 2018. As the chair of METRO's Strategic Planning committee, he initiated the Transit System Reimagining process, a blank sheet re-design of the entire bus system. Since Mayor Annise Parker appointed him to the board in 2010, METRO has successfully obtained $900 million in federal funding for light rail, increased transparency, put Houston on firm financial footing, and initiated a new BRT project in a major job center. He was reappointed by Mayor Sylvester Turner in 2016. At Huitt-Zollars, he has done land use and transportation plans in a variety of settings, including a mixed-use district plan in Downtown Houston, citywide land use policy in Sugar Land, TX, a multimodal medical center access plan in El Paso, a transit-oriented development master plan in Seattle, a Livable Centers Plan in Rosenberg, a new bike plan for Houston, and transit planning in St. Paul. His recent work includes park planning for the Houston Parks Board and the Buffalo Bayou Partnership and project management of a consortium of researchers addressing flooding in Houston. Christof has written and spoken extensively on transit and urban planning. He teaches courses in Architecture and Civil Engineering at Rice University. As a member of the American Public Transit Association's Sustainability and Urban Design Working Group, he has helped draft national standards on transit and urban design. He is also a contributor to NACTO's Transit Street Design Guide and a board member at TransitCenter in New York. Christof holds a B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from Rice University. He lives in Downtown Houston and relies on transit and walking for most of his daily trips.

Webinar: Advocating For and Creating Effective Public Transit

A Maryland Department of Planning and the Smart Growth Network event

Having greater access to transit is vital for the functioning of safe, equitable, and environmentally friendly cities. But what makes for effective transit? How do you advocate for it? And how can cities utilize buses to create fast, frequent and...

Having greater access to transit is vital for the functioning of safe, equitable, and environmentally friendly cities. But what makes for effective transit? How do you advocate for it? And how can cities utilize buses to create fast, frequent and reliable service?

The Maryland Department of Planning and the Smart Growth Network held this webinar as Christof Spieler, author of Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit, and Steven Higashide, author of Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit, explained how to make better use of our current transit systems in clear ways for decision-makers, philanthropists, activists, and public agency leaders.

Webinar: Saving Local Transit in the Bay Area and Beyond

Connecting Communities event series with TransForm CA

Transportation is one of the biggest challenges facing the Bay Area today. To build good transit, the discussion needs to focus on what matters—quality of service, a range of transit riders, the role of buildings, streets and sidewalks, and,...

Transportation is one of the biggest challenges facing the Bay Area today. To build good transit, the discussion needs to focus on what matters—quality of service, a range of transit riders, the role of buildings, streets and sidewalks, and, above all, getting transit in the right places.

Part of the Connecting Communities series by TransForm, in this webinar transit experts explore how to strengthen local transit in the Bay Area. Author Christof Spieler discussed strategies to revive interest in transit and boost ridership locally and regionally, in conversation with a local transit advocate and a transit agency representative.

Participants:
- Christof Spieler, author of Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit
- Christy Wegener, Director of Planning for San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans)

Moderator: Chris Lepe, Regional Policy Director, TransForm

Webinar: How to Advocate for Local Transit in Your Community

What are the best methods in advocating for better transportation in your city? What do you say at a planning meeting? Who do you even direct your concerns to? What changes can you even affect?  

What are the best methods in advocating for better transportation in your city? What do you say at a planning meeting? Who do you even direct your concerns to? What changes can you even affect?  

Christof Spieler, author of Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit, has been in your shoes. Christof, PE, LEED AP, is now the Vice President and Director of Planning at Huitt-Zollars and a Senior Lecturer at Rice University. Earlier in his life, he was doing citizen advocacy to change his local metro system in Houston. 

Christof has brought together a panel of local transit advocacy leaders that are doing effective, on the ground work in their neighborhoods. They are using data and best practices to measure their outputs and they're looking to share the secrets of their successes with you. 

This webinar isn't just for beginners, it's for anyone who wants to know the best ways they can take their transit advocacy to the next level. 

Panelists include: 
- Fred Neal Jr., Commissioner of the Regional Transit Authority of New Orleans and Sr. Planner at Villavaso & Associates, LLC
- Laura Wiens, Director of Pittsburghers for Public Transit
- Christof Spieler, PE, LEED AP, Vice President & Director of Planning at Huitt-Zollars + Senior Lecturer at Rice University

Conversation moderated by David Bragdon, Executive Director of TransitCenter. 

Interested in the slides? You can find them here