Local Motion - January 2018

Public to receive update on Mobility 2045 plan

NCTCOG staff will present an update on Mobility 2045, Unified Planning Work Program modifications and SolSmart designations during public meetings in January. Residents can provide input on Mobility 2045, the long-range transportation plan for North Central Texas, and work program modifications at public meetings on January 9 (Carrollton), January 10 (Arlington) and January 16 (Fort Worth). Mobility 2045 will define a long-term vision for the region’s transportation system and guide spending of federal and state funds. This includes funding for highways, transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities and other programs that can reduce congestion and improve air quality. Draft recommendations are expected to be available in spring 2018 with RTC action to follow in the summer.
In addition to developing a long-range transportation plan, NCTCOG staff also creates a Unified Planning Work Program. The UPWP for regional transportation planning provides a summary of transportation and related air quality planning tasks to be conducted by the metropolitan planning organization over a two-year period. Proposed modifications to the FY 2018 and FY 2019 UPWP will be presented. Staff will also present the benefits of solar to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and showcase participating cities and their solar-friendly efforts.NCTCOG has served as a SolSmart adviser to North Texas for the past year by hosting trainings and webinars and working with individual cities to make the  region more solar friendly. Finally, AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine will be highlighted.
Watch the Arlington meeting in real time by clicking the “live” tab at http://www.nctcog.org/video. A recording of the presentations will also be posted at http://www.nctcog.org/input.

City of Arlington partners with app-based rideshare company

A new rideshare option has come to Arlington, and it includes a connection to the Trinity Railway Express. Via, a company operating in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C., has begun deploying its black Mercedes-Benz seven-passenger vans in a section of Arlington, giving residents an alternative to driving alone. The app-based service began December 11, providing users the chance to schedule rides to and from the TRE station, as well as in and around the Entertainment District.
Rides cost $3 each way and are available from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays. With the initial rollout, a North Texan who wants to go from, say, Fort Worth to classes at the University of Texas at Arlington, can take the TRE from downtown to the CentrePort/DFW Station and schedule a Via ride the rest of the way. The user would pull up the app, schedule a ride and report to the pick-up point a short distance away.
By spring or early summer, Via is expected to offer connections to the Parks at Arlington and Arlington Highlands along Interstate Highway 20. When fully implemented, Via will serve locations in an area bound by Interstate Highway 30 to the north, IH 20 to the south, Fielder Road to the west and State Highway 360 to the east. For information, visit http://www.arlington-tx.gov/via. The app is available in the App Store and on Google Play. Those without smartphones can call 817-784-7382 to book a ride.
The City will pay $322,500, 33 percent of the cost of the one-year pilot. The rest is to be paid for by the Federal Transit Administration. Via replaces the Metro ArlingtonXpress, which provided bus service from the TRE’s CentrePort/DFW Airport Station to UTA, with an additional stop near the Entertainment District for the past several years. MAX service ended in December.

Air quality continues steady improvement

Ozone concentration in North Texas is at its lowest level on record, after falling to 79 parts per billion for the 2017 ozone season. For the first time, North Texas did not have any red (unhealthy for all groups) ozone days, a significant milestone since the region was first classified as nonattainment Ten counties in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are in nonattainment for ozone, an air pollutant that can cause a variety of health problems related to lungs and lung function.
In 2015, the standard was lowered from 75 ppb to 70 ppb and included a one-month extension of the ozone season. Air quality in North Texas has improved significantly since 1998, when the ozone concentration was 102 ppb.
The region’s progress is a result of NCTCOG and its partners adopting clean air programs and policies, along with advances in vehicle technology. For information on how you can help improve air quality, visit http://www.airnorthtexas.org/.

NTTA introduces new way to call for help

The North Texas Tollway Authority has introduced a faster, more efficient way to call for assistance when you are stranded on one of its toll roads. You can now simply dial #999 on your cellphone if you get a flat tire, run out of gas or find yourself stranded for another reason. This will connect directly to NTTA’s Safety Operations Center. Roadside Safety Services crews and/or DPS Troopers can then be dispatched as needed. New roadside signs and Dynamic Message Boards (overhead electronic signs) will advise drivers of the new safety feature.
Through November, NTTA had assisted 24,138 motorists in 2017. This is an average of 72 a day. For more on the program, visit http://www.ntta.org.

RTC approves safety, transit asset measures

The RTC has approved performance measures to be used to gauge the safety of the region’s roadway system. The targets are focused on reducing serious injuries and fatalities.
They are based on historical data and must be achievable, not just aspirational. For 2018, that means the goals for North Texas include 665 fatalities and approximately 3,600 serious injuries. Targets are based on five-year averages and will be reexamined each year.
The RTC requested an addendum be added explaining that one death is too many. The RTC also approved transit asset performance measures. The goal of the transit performance measures is “to ensure transit vehicles, rail lines and other capital assets are in a state of good repair.” Transit vehicles and rail track are areas of emphasis. Transit assets should not be older than the industry standard, according to the adopted performance measure.
The performance measures will be reported in Progress North Texas, NCTCOG’s annual transportation state of the region, and used in various planning ventures.

Online comment period continues through Jan. 10

There is still time for residents to provide input on transportation projects scheduled through 2020. Proposed modifications to the list of funded projects will be available for review during the online public comment period, which continues through January 10. A comprehensive list of funded transportation projects through 2020 is maintained in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Projects with committed funds from federal, state and local sources are included in the TIP. To maintain an accurate project listing, this document is updated on a regular basis. For information, visit http://www.nctcog.org/input. To request printed copies, call 817-608-2365 or email cbaylor@nctcog.org.

@NCTCOGtrans revamps social media strategy

The NCTCOG Transportation Department’s social media strategy has undergone a makeover. The use of a light and conversational tone, modern graphic design elements moving images, like GIFs and videos, are all part of the new strategy implemented to refresh the content provided and make information more accessible to the Department’s followers.
Social media is a valuable tool for the Transportation Department because of its speed and far-reaching capabilities. It is also a great way to connect with those in the North Texas region who may be looking for more convenient public involvement opportunities.
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @NCTCOGtrans; “like” the NCTCOG Transportation Department on Facebook; and subscribe to the NCTCOGtrans YouTube channel to keep up to date on all things transportation.