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Local Motion - photos of the TRE, traffic in the IH 30 managed/HOV lane, Fort Worth, airplane

May 2014

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OUR REGION

Air quality has been an important part of NCTCOG's job for decades

NCTCOG has been working for years to improve air quality, which is important in a region of nearly 7 million people, particularly because of Dallas-Fort Worth’s status as an ozone nonattainment area.

The NCTCOG Transportation Department is responsible for air quality planning because
on-road sources contribute nearly half the ozone-causing emissions in the region. In the early years of the metropolitan planning organization, energy conservation was an important regional focus, with the effects of the energy crisis persisting through much of the 1970s. Throughout the years, new challenges have arisen, and D-FW has been meeting them.

The Clean Air Act of 1990 toughened the requirements of transportation conformity, the idea that Dallas-Fort Worth and other nonattainment areas must not harm air quality when completing transportation projects. The Environmental Protection Agency also established the 1-hour ozone standard to measure peak ozone, and four counties — Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant — were in nonattainment. North Texas has met the 1-hour standard, but in 2005, the EPA replaced it with the 8-hour standard, which measures ozone over a longer period of time and was judged to more adequately protect health. Nine counties were originally part of the 8-hour nonattainment area.

Currently, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise counties are in nonattainment for the pollutant ozone under the new 2008 EPA National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 75 ozone parts per billion or less.

To improve air quality, NCTCOG uses a variety of programs and policies, including the Clean Fleet Vehicle Policy, which provides guidance for reducing emissions through vehicle acquisition, maintenance and operations.

As the region works to meet the new standard, remember to do your part to help improve air quality, both during ozone season and throughout the year. Commit to simple clean air strategies that are great to implement year-round, but are especially important to follow on Air Pollution Action Days.

Example strategies include biking or walking instead of driving, reducing idling, carpooling, taking your lunch to work, using mass transit and more. Visit AirNorthTexas.org to review and commit to strategies and sign up to receive Air Pollution Action Day alerts.

Related link: 40th Anniversary

RTC POLICYMAKERS

Texas A&M's Weber hired to lead TxDOT 

FWTAexas Transportation Commission has selected retired Marine General Joe Weber as the Texas Department of Transportation’s 20th executive director. Weber succeeded Phil Wilson last month after serving as vice president of student affairs at Texas A&M University in College Station. He was responsible for the strategic planning, direction and development of fiscal and human resources, and how they impacted the overall experience of nearly 57,000 students at the university. Weber will now lead an organization of 11,000 employees responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail and public transportation across the state. Weber is a graduate of Texas A&M and has a master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. — TxDOT

Chisholm Trail to open to traffic May 11

Chisholm Trail Parkway, the long-planned roadway connecting Fort Worth to Cleburne, will open May 11. The 27.6-mile toll road will serve as an alternative to Interstate Highway 35W for drivers traveling between Tarrant and Johnson counties. The road will cost an estimated $1.4 billion, with $860 million funded by the North Texas Tollway Authority. Chisholm Trail has been under construction since April 2010, but it has been in the plans much longer. It appeared as a recommendation in Total Transportation 1990, approved in 1974 as the metropolitan planning organization’s first long-range transportation plan. This will be the first NTTA facility in Tarrant and Johnson counties.

On the Web: NTTA.org

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT

NCTCOG encourages community involvement

The NCTCOG Transportation Department has been busy this spring visiting with residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to talk transportation and air quality. Throughout April, department staff members visited community events to provide information about transportation planning and its role in the improvement of mobility in a region of almost 7 million residents.

Residents are an important part of the solutions to system reliability and air quality. They are encouraged to remain involved with the transportation planning process and do their part to boost the air we breathe. In addition to attending community events, the department holds public meetings to discuss projects and programs with residents who will be directly affected. Staff members will visit the Granville Arts Center in Garland at 5:30 pm May 13 for an open house and public meeting (6 pm) concerning the Blacklands Corridor Feasibility Study. For information, visit NCTCOG.org/blacklands.

Department publishes new fact sheets

The NCTCOG Transportation Department has published fact sheets intended to help residents of the region understand the Congestion Management Process and Transportation Development Credits.

Required for metropolitan areas with at least 200,000 residents, the CMP was updated in 2013, providing a look at where the most congested segments are located throughout the area. Transportation Development Credits are provided to regions that use non-federal funds to pay for construction of toll roads, allowing federal dollars to be spent elsewhere. These and other fact sheets are available for download at NCTCOG.org/factsheets


 

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NEXT CHALLENGE

It takes the cooperative work of a region – including businesses, governments and individuals – to make the biggest impact. The issue of air quality is not exempt from this point. D-FW can meet the ozone standard, meaning cleaner air for its residents, if everyone does his or her part to make it happen. Get ideas about what you can do to help improve air quality at AirNorthTexas.org. Then share your plans with us on Twitter and Facebook using the #DFWMPO40 hashtag.

Earth Day 2014

Bike sharing celebrates 1 year in Fort Worth

At places throughout Fort Worth, residents or visitors who have short trips but don’t want to use the car have a more active option. They can rent a bicycle at one of more than 30 locations, ride to lunch, an appointment or the store and return the bike to any station when they are finished. Fort Worth B-cycle celebrated the one-year anniversary of bike sharing in North Texas on Earth Day.
Since the program launched on April 22, 2013, 14,000 people have taken more than 30,000 trips for a total of more than 104,000 miles and burned 4 million calories. The program has 495 annual members, and 13,797 have signed up for 24-hour memberships. Passes for three, seven and 30 days are also available.
Funded by a Federal Highway Administration grant, the program began with 300 bikes and 27 bike share stations and has since grown to 34 stations. B-cycle is expected to add 10 stations and approximately 60 bikes in the fall. For more on bike sharing, visit FortWorthBCycle.com.

Public comments

Comments or questions about transportation or air quality topics may be submitted at any time. Submit questions or comments online or send them to:

North Central Texas
Council of Governments
Transportation Department
P.O. Box 5888
Arlington, TX 76005-5888 

E-mail: transinfo@nctcog.org
Web site: www.nctcog.org/trans
Fax: 817-640-3028
Phone: 817-695-9240

 

 

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