By understanding how integrated successful transit is with the context of the adjacent land uses, Christof Spieler has developed a broad toolbox of transit innovations in these plans, including signature bus service, bus rapid transit lines and enhancements to historic streetcar lines. He has also developed transit-oriented development strategies for communities to capitalize on stronger transit service. His broad experience as well as ability to effectively communicate the opportunity that well-thought-out transit systems can provide has culminated with his nomination to the Houston Metro board or directors. He was appointed by Houston Mayor Annise Parker in March 2010.
While serving on the board, Spieler has helped the agency set a more strategic direction for providing transit service for the Houston region. He has continued to be an advocate for stronger customer service and the increased transparency of Metro discussions on the future of transit in the region. He served as a board spokesperson through a challenging political referendum on the future funding options for Metro.
Spieler is also chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. This committee has helped define the strategic direction for the agency as long- and short-range planning decisions are made. This committee has helped develop the approach for “re-imagining” the Houston bus network to better serve the community and increase ridership. It has also begun a strategic look at long term capital projects for the agency.
The most significant current project is the transit system re-imagining, a project to define the goals of Houston's transit system and then to re-design the entire system, particularly local bus service, from scratch. As committee chair, he championed the project, helped define the scope and consultant selection process, helped set up the stakeholder group, and serve as an interface between the project and the board.
Other major projects Spieler played a role in are three new light rail lines opening in 2013 and 2014 and a new bus rapid transit line that will connect Uptown, one of the major employment centers, to the park-and-ride commuter bus system and two major bus transit centers.
At Morris he leads public planning projects and provides urban design input on architecture projects. Current and recent projects include the Downtown-EaDo Livable Centers Study, which looked at integrating transportation, land use and the public realm in an area including the George R. Brown Convention Center, Toyota Center, Minute Maid Park, the new Dynamo stadium and Discovery Green; a new land use plan for the city of Sugar Land; the Fort Bend subregional mobility study; LEED-ND certification for a large mixed-use project; and a 1,000-room convention center hotel in Houston.
Spieler is is a graduate of Rice University with a Bachelor’s of Science in civil engineering, as well as a Master’s of Science in civil engineering and is also a senior lecturer there. He teaches one course a semester on structures for architects and frequently participates in other courses by taking part in design pinups and guest lecturing.
He is a registered professional engineer in Texas and a LEED accredited professional. He has been honored by Rice University with the Outstanding Young Engineer Alumnus award in 2009 and was named to the 40 Under 40 by “Building Design + Construction” magazine in 2009.
Spieler was a major contributor to the American Public Transportation Association’s recommended practice on "Design of On-street Transit Stops and Access from Surrounding Areas," published in March 2012. He has become a noted speaker and has presented at many national and statewide conferences, some of which include: Railvolution, Greenbuild, Texas Society of Architects Conference and New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. Locally, he as presented at many community and civic organizations as well as civic clubs.