(Arlington, Texas) – Ozone season, like warmer weather, is upon us. As the temperature rises, air quality generally worsens, so it is important for residents to do their part to lessen emissions in the spring and summer.
Beginning May 2, more attention will be brought to the issue of clean air with the celebration of Air Quality Awareness Week. While the week will spotlight the importance of clean air nationwide, in Dallas-Fort Worth, where ten counties are in violation of federal ozone standards, air quality is a focal point every day. And improving it requires assistance from everyone.
NCTCOG operates several programs to give residents the tools to contribute. One is Air North Texas, a regional partnership and campaign encouraging individuals, businesses and governments in North Texas to make clean air choices by promoting behavioral and lifestyle changes that impact their health and the environment.
Participation in Air North Texas is just one way people who call the Dallas-Fort Worth area home can help their neighbors breathe easier during ozone season, which lasts through October. By committing to at least one action to improve the air quality and health in North Texas, anyone – young or old – can help bring the region toward attainment. Residents can also join in on the change by participating in events such as Clean Air Action Day, designated to encourage people to make environmentally friendly choices that could lead to a healthier North Texas. On the first Friday of summer, June 24, commit to clean air actions and share how you will lend a hand with our community.
The following are a few ways residents and employers can participate:
- Use mass transit like Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority or Denton County Transportation Authority.
- Carpool or vanpool.
- Limit or avoid idling.
- Bicycle or walk instead of driving.
- Report smoking vehicles.
- Take lunch to work instead of going out to eat.
For more ways to help, visit AirNorthTexas.org.
Signing up for Ozone Action Day alerts is another way to get involved and be a part of the solution. These alerts provide information about when the region's air quality may be unhealthy. When unhealthy air quality is forecast, an email will be sent in advance with tips to improve air quality and limit time spent outdoors. Residents can sign up through AirNorthTexas.org.
Other programs that promote air quality are listed below:
- RSVP: The Regional Smoking Vehicle Program is designed to inform vehicle owners their vehicle may be creating excessive smoke and emitting pollutants, which are harmful to the public’s health and environment.
- TryParkingIt.com: The region’s ride-matching and trip-logging website available for commuters in North Texas. Users can locate carpool and vanpool matches, along with transit, biking and walking buddy matches.
- AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine: Designed to help qualifying vehicle owners comply with emissions standards by offering financial incentives to repair or replace their cars and trucks.
Residents can also help improve air quality by using mapping programs and other technologies to help them find the most efficient, least congested routes. It is important, however, that motorists refrain from using their phones while driving. NCTCOG also works with the freight industry to promote emissions reduction and improve efficiency, and its efforts were recently recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency through its SmartWay Affiliate Challenge program for the fifth year in a row. The SmartWay Affiliate Challenge was developed to acknowledge entities that have demonstrated exceptional recruiting, promotion and marketing toward these goals.
These are just a few tools that residents can use to become part of the solution. The contribution could be big or small, but regardless of its size, can make an impact far beyond this generation.
About the North Central Texas Council of Governments:
NCTCOG is a voluntary association of local governments established in 1966 to assist local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit and coordinating for sound regional development. NCTCOG's purpose is to strengthen both the individual and collective power of local governments and to help them recognize regional opportunities, eliminate unnecessary duplication and make joint decisions.
NCTCOG serves a 16-county region of North Central Texas, which is centered on the two urban centers of Dallas and Fort Worth. Currently, NCTCOG has 238 member governments including
16 counties, 169 cities, 22 school districts and 31 special districts. For more information on the
NCTCOG Transportation Department, visit www.nctcog.org/trans.
For more news from the NCTCOG Transportation Department, visit www.nctcog.org/trans/outreach/media.
About the Regional Transportation Council:
The Regional Transportation Council (RTC) of the North Central Texas Council of Governments has served as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for regional transportation planning in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1974. The MPO works in cooperation with the region’s transportation providers to address the complex transportation needs of the rapidly growing metropolitan area. The Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area includes Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise counties. The RTC’s 44 members include local elected or appointed officials from the metropolitan area and representatives from each of the area’s transportation providers.
Amanda Wilson (817) 695-9284, firstname.lastname@example.org
Whitney Vandiver (817) 704-5639, email@example.com