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

August 2014

PDF | Return to main Local Motion page | Archived issues

OUR REGION

40th Anniversary RTC Logo

Cooperation key throughout history of public transportation

DART will introduce service to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on August 18, marking one of the most significant accomplishments in its three decades of existence. The extension brings Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s total rail inventory to 90 miles. Combined with the commuter rail service of the Trinity Railway Express and the Denton County Transportation Authority’s A-train, Dallas-Fort Worth’s rail system provides service along almost 150 miles of track in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. Buses provide greater connectivity, and all transit vehicles allow bicycles, making it possible to access even more corners of North Texas. In the early days of the metropolitan planning organization, D-FW was served by two different transit agencies: the Dallas Transit System and CITRAN, a city of Fort Worth-owned system. Legislative action in the early 1980s allowed the establishment of stand-alone agencies. Over the past three decades, public transportation and regional partnerships have expanded to create the transit system of today.

DART and FWTA were created in 1983. In 1996, the first phase of the TRE, co-owned by the two agencies, opened from Dallas to Irving. The commuter rail line was then extended to Fort Worth in 2001, thus linking the two central business districts. This cooperation between DART and FWTA set the stage for other important partnerships.

The Rail North Texas project, a regional effort to secure legislative approval for further rail expansion, brought together diverse interests with an understanding of the importance of additional transportation options. Although falling short of its ultimate goal of securing legislative action to allow local flexibility in transit funding, it provided a roadmap for future rail expansion. In 2011, DCTA introduced the A-train, a 21-mile commuter line between Carrollton and Denton. The A-train resulted from two significant partnerships. The project was funded locally, with $250 million from the Regional Toll Revenue initiative. Also, DART owns the tracks, requiring an agreement with DCTA. Today, A-train passengers can board a train in Denton and connect to DART light rail in Carrollton. Although three agencies now handle public transportation in the region, cooperation and technology make it possible to enjoy a seamless travel experience. The agencies offer regional transit passes and recently launched GoPassSM, a mobile app that allows users to purchase tickets and plan trips with the tap of a finger. Many other important transit projects are on the horizon as the MPO opens its next 40 years. In Dallas, a streetcar system will connect downtown and Oak Cliff, while FWTA is developing the TEX Rail commuter line from Fort Worth to DFW Airport. Over time, these transit components will interconnect thanks to the continued desire of local elected officials and transportation partners to cooperate to provide seamless transportation options within the region.

RTC POLICYMAKERS

Phase 2 of LBJ Express opens to traffic

The second phase of the $2.7 billion LBJ Express opened last month, giving commuters access to the soaring ramps on Interstate Highway 35E, from the Loop 12 split to Josey Lane on IH 635, as well as LBJ from Josey Lane to just before Valley View Lane. The first section, consisting of four TEXpress Lanes between Preston Road and Greenville Avenue, opened to traffic last December. LBJ Express is a 13-mile project aiming to bring more reliability to one of the busiest roadways in the state through the combination of free general-purpose lanes and TEXpress Lanes. These tolled, managed lanes are open to both solo travelers and high-occupancy vehicles. Automobiles with at least two occupants with valid toll transponders are eligible for a 50 percent peak-period discount on all TEXpress Lanes in the region if they first register. For details, visit www.lbjtexpress.com.

Local dealers to celebrate EVs Sept. 15-21

The Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition is partnering with car dealers and manufacturers in North Texas for a local celebration of National Drive Electric Week, September 15-21. Events at dealers and showrooms throughout the region will provide information on electric vehicles (EVs), including available incentives, recharging, maintenance and total cost of ownership. There will also be a chance to talk with current EV owners about real-world driving experiences and the passion they have for their vehicles. Attendees can expect to test drive vehicles, learn about charging options and receive giveaways at participating dealerships. For additional information and event locations, visit www.dfwcleancities.org/evnt or contact Kenny Bergstrom at 817-704-5643 or kbergstrom@nctcog.org.

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT

Mobility Matters features Chisholm Trail, HSR

The new Chisholm Trail Parkway toll road reduces travel time between Fort Worth and Cleburne significantly. But it also provides a tip of the hat to the past. To learn how the Chisholm Trail is more than just a faster route, read the summer issue of Mobility Matters in print and online.

Director of Transportation Michael Morris also discusses high speed rail efforts underway that could allow people to travel to Houston from the Dallas-Fort Worth area in less than two hours. An NCTCOG program developed to count bicycle-pedestrian users is also covered.

The RTC spotlight is on Mansfield Mayor Pro Tem Stephen Lindsey, who discusses lessons learned from the differences between construction in Dallas-Fort Worth and Iraq that he experienced firsthand.

On the Web:   www.nctcog.org/MobilityMatters

Survey seeks help from IH 30 commuters

If you travel Interstate Highway 30 between Dallas and Arlington, transportation planners would like to know how you typically use it and if incentives would entice you to change the decisions you make.

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute and NCTCOG launched a survey last month asking motorists for input on this stretch of Tom Landry Highway. It is all part of an effort to better manage congestion and provide reliable trips through Dallas-Fort Worth.

The anonymous survey takes just a few minutes to complete and is open through September 15. Three respondents will be chosen at random to receive $250 MasterCard gift cards. Take the survey at
www.i-30survey.org. For more information on the survey, contact Dr. Mark Burris at mburris@tamu.edu.

 

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NEXT CHALLENGE

Public transportation in the region has changed throughout the past 40 years. Buses now run on alternative fuel; light rail continues to expand; and commuter rail connects Dallas to Fort Worth and Denton to Carrollton. Transit has also shaped land use with mixed-use and transit-oriented developments, infill developments and redevelopment in historic downtowns. How will transit shape land use in the future? Tell us on social media using #DFWMPO40.

Public Meetings

Plan to boost some speed limits discussed

Work continues on a plan outlined earlier this year to update some speed limits that were lowered 13 years ago as the region sought ways to improve air quality. North Central Texas Council of Governments planners discussed with residents at July public meetings how speed limits previously reduced could change, possibly increasing, by the end of the year.

In 2001, speed limits on many highways were lowered by 5 mph due to models showing that reducing speed limits by a modest amount would cut emissions. However, current models show less sensitivity to high-speed variations due to advances of technology. In some areas of the region, traffic-signal optimization is planned to help ensure air quality is not harmed by any change.

FWTAexas Department of Transportation is evaluating the safety implications of any changes and also considering speed studies as part of its decision making.

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 

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

 

 

5/6/2016  CH

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