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

June 2014

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OUR REGION

Youth involvement important to future of transportation system

Today’s students see things differently than their parents do, which can be beneficial in coming up with new ideas to improve mobility and air quality. Students also have a different way of doing things. Studies show driving-age youth aren’t as attached to personal vehicles as older generations and envision a different ideal transportation system for the region. Their opinions are important and can help shape the transportation system of tomorrow. The NCTCOG Transportation Department offers many ways for residents to participate in transportation planning. From traditional methods, such as publications and public meetings, to more innovative approaches such as video-recorded meetings and social media, there is something for everyone. Students and NCTCOG share many of the same values. Both have an eye on the future with a sharp focus on the environment and transparent, accessible government. NCTCOG provides opportunities for students from elementary school to college to participate. But it is also important for those students to feel like they can be part of the conversation.

There are ways to make interacting with a governing body less intimidating, and the department, through its involvement in social media, career days and community colleges, is doing that. Youth believe government should be collaborative and responsive. The Transportation Department has reached out to young students over the past three years to conduct an art contest in conjunction with the publication of Progress North Texas, the annual transportation report. For older students, there are options today and in the future. The department is partnering with community colleges in an effort to increase visibility. Outreach events on campuses and elsewhere inform the public, but also help make it easier for students and others to approach NCTCOG with an issue. Involvement in social media — the department is active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram — allows more direct engagement, helping to remove barriers. A new interactive website that will help people of all ages interact directly with transportation staff is also planned.

The planning process is detailed and technical, so students have to feel comfortable or motivated before getting involved. To help students feel confident enough to participate, the department will continue to look for new and creative ways to present information. It is important to consider the appropriate languages, tone and media for target audiences, as well as to be open to the lessons youth have for how to most effectively communicate with them.

On the Web: NCTCOG.org/dfwmpo40

RTC POLICYMAKERS

TCEQ deploys nitrogen dioxide monitor 

FWTAexas Commission on Environmental Quality deployed Dallas-Fort Worth’s first near-road nitrogen dioxide monitor on LBJ Freeway, just east of US Highway 75, this spring.

As required by the Environmental Protection Agency, this is the first of two near-road monitors to be installed in the region to measure the 1-hour concentration of NO2, which has a maximum allowable level of 100 parts per billion. FWTACEQ, Texas Department of Transportation, and North Central Texas Council of Governments are working together to determine the location for a second monitor, which must be operational by January 2015.

RTC endorses plan to turn back some roads

The Regional Transportation Council last month endorsed an agreement that will allow cities and counties that wish to take control of some state highways to do so.

In a memorandum of understanding, the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Municipal League and Association of Texas Metropolitan Planning Organizations outlined the voluntary Highway Turnback Program.

Local governments had voiced some concern when the program was announced as a way to ease TxDOT’s funding shortfall, but confirmation of the voluntary nature of the program helped increase acceptance of the idea. TxDOT will use some of the maintenance savings on eligible mobility, safety and preservation projects in the same cities that accept the responsibilities for turned-back roads, according to the MOU.

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT

Clean Air Action Day scheduled for June 27

Heading into the height of ozone season, North Texans are encouraged to participate in Air North Texas’ Clean Air Action Day on June 27, with the goal of doing more for clean air by reducing congestion and ozone-causing pollution.

Clean Air Action Day

Individuals can participate by pledging to implement at least one clean air action that they do not normally do, such as carpooling, using mass transit, bicycling or walking.

Find ideas, learn more about the event and submit Clean Air Action Day commitments at AirNorthTexas.org/cleanair.asp.

Annual report examines 2013 progress

The Transportation Department will soon publish Progress North Texas 2014: The Story of Transportation in Dallas-Fort Worth. This annual report traces transportation and air quality developments over the past year in an effort to showcase the stories of progress. It touches on large infrastructure projects and lower-cost improvements planned as the region continues to grapple with inadequate funding and brisk population growth. It also lays out efforts undertaken to improve air quality in the 10-county nonattainment area.

Again this year, the department conducted an art contest to determine the cover design of the report. Congratulations to Dawna Berry of Arlington Independent School District’s Butler Elementary School on winning first place. The students were asked how they think they will travel to work on their 40th birthday. The answers are creative and impressive.

The report and all student artwork will be available online this month at NCTCOG.org/ourregion.

 

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NEXT CHALLENGE

Getting younger people involved in the transportation planning process is vital. Recent studies show they are driving less, embracing car-sharing, bike-sharing and transit. This impacts future decisions about transportation and is changing the way we live and work, even here in North Texas. What more can be done to get younger people involved in the planning process? Tell us using the #DFWMPO40 hashtag.

Clean Cities

Survey: Region saves 17M gallons of fuel

Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities stakeholders saved over 17 million gallons of fuel and prevented more than 51,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions last year, according to the preliminary results of the 2013 DFW Clean Cities Annual Survey.

The fuel savings represented a 20 percent improvement over 2012, when stakeholders saved about 14 million gallons. Stakeholders further reduced GHG emissions by 10,000 tons in 2013, according to the survey.

Alternative fuel vehicles helped reduce a majority of the fuel and emissions, at 93 and 72 percent,
respectively. Throughout the years, DFW Clean Cities stakeholders have continued to find ways to reduce fuel consumption.

For more information, please visit DFWCleanCities.org or email cleancities@nctcog.org.

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

 

 

10/31/2016  CH

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