Local Motion - August 2018
After a visit to the new Virgin Hyperloop One full-scale test track in Nevada, the Regional Transportation Council has announced its plan to incorporate hyperloop technology into the current metropolitan area transportation initiatives.
The delegation witnessed the technology first hand at the North Las Vegas facility and discussed further details with engineers at the Innovation Campus in Los Angeles This next-generation transportation mode can produce very high travel speeds using minimal aerodynamic resistance by operating in a low pressure environment and using magnetic levitation.
In the coming year, the RTC will issue a Request for Proposals for a consultant team to complete a Tier 2 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) considering both hyperloop technology and high-speed rail connecting Dallas, Arlington and Fort Worth. Virgin Hyperloop One engineers estimated the hyperloop trip to last about six minutes between Dallas and Fort Worth. Additionally, funding and funding commitments have also been provided by the RTC and other regions in Texas to conduct a conceptual feasibility study of high-speed technology connecting Fort Worth, Waco, Temple-Killeen, Austin, San Antonio and Laredo.
With the DFW population expected to reach 11.2 million by 2045, the RTC sees the hyperloop technology as an innovative and efficient way to expand upon existing transportation systems and open economic opportunities throughout North Texas.
For more information on Virgin Hyperloop One, including a demonstration video, visit www.nctcog.org/trans/about/news.
Individuals step up with more than 1,000 clean air commitments
Air North Texas celebrated Clean Air Action Day on June 22, securing more than 1,000 commitments from individuals pledging to take an active role to improve air quality.
With this annual event, Air North Texas informs residents about the air quality problem and requests individuals, businesses and governments to help improve air quality by pledging to implement different types of clean air strategies into their daily routines. Currently, nine counties are in nonattainment of the 2015 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard. Residents across the region participated in the event by logging and sharing their specific commitments to https://www.airnorthtexas.org/ and NCTCOG’s social media pages.
Individuals could select from among more than 20 commitments. The top three were:
· Take lunch to work or activities
· Confirm up to date on maintenance and state emissions and safety inspection
· Maintain consistent driving speed
These three actions, plus others like walking to work, carpooling and taking public transit, all contribute to improving air quality throughout the DFW area. Again this year, members of the Surface Transportation Technical Committee, which met June 22, had the chance to participate in the meeting remotely.
Twenty-seven members took advantage of this opportunity. For hosting Clean Air Action Day challenges, three participating STTC entities were awarded Transportation Development Credits, noncash credits that can be used by jurisdictions to go toward the federally required local match for projects.
NCTCOG recognizes alternative commute ‘champions’
Try Parking It recently recognized employee transportation champions for going the extra mile to promote alternatives to driving alone. Employee transportation coordinators in the public, private and education sectors were recognized for their encouragement of ridesharing, bicycling, walking, transit, telecommuting and compressed work schedules.
The winners were:
Education sector - Sandy Bauman, sustainability coordinator, University of North Texas Health Science Center. Bauman worked to create a Transit 101 class, which teaches students and employees how to ride public transportation in Fort Worth.
Private sector – Kendra Beseler and Ty Munger, Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., Plano. These champions created Liberty Mutual’s commute program, which focuses on educating employees on commuting alternatives and promoting available public and company resources.
Public sector – Kevin Overton and Brittany Hailey, City of Dallas. Overton and Hailey have worked to encourage the City’s 13,000 employees to consider getting to work by bike, transit, carpool or other alternatives to driving alone.
The Employee Transportation Champion Award recognizes individuals who best demonstrate a commitment to promoting and advancing commuter transportation options at work. For more information on commute alternatives, visit www.tryparkingit.com.
IH 35W project reaches substantial completion
The 10-mile Interstate 35W project from downtown Fort Worth to North Tarrant Parkway opened in July. The $1.6 billion improvement involved construction of expanded frontage roads, rebuilt main lanes and the addition of TEXpress Lanes, which provide motorists the choice to pay for a smoother ride through the corridor.
With growth and development in Tarrant County, the corridor is experiencing more traffic. Volumes are up 20 percent to 132,000 vehicles a day since 2014, according to North Tarrant Express, the developer of the project. The improved capacity will keep vehicles moving through the corridor for years to come. The new configuration replaces 60-year-old infrastructure with a safer, more modern roadway. It is the latest piece of a transportation system that aims to provide motorists choices when traveling through the region.
The TEXpress Lanes will allow vehicles to move at 50-60 mph during rush hour, even at capacity, thanks to the traffic management system that will adjust pricing based on congestion levels.
Take advantage of EV incentives today
Did you know that you could get up to $13,500 for purchasing an Electric Vehicle (EV)? Right now, the federal government is offering up to $7,500 for the purchase of a new qualified Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV).
Additionally, Texas residents are eligible to receive up to $2,500 for qualified EVs. And if you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program could provide more assistance. Individuals who meet program requirements can receive vouchers for up to $3,500 toward an EV up to three model years old. Information on the program, including annual household income requirements, can be found at https://www.nctcog.org/trans/quality/air/for-everyone/aircheck.
Find out more about the electric vehicle incentives available to North Texas residents at www.dfwcleancities.org/evnt.
National Drive Electric Week starts Sept. 8
Electric vehicles are becoming more popular in North Texas, are better for air quality and can be a lot of fun to drive. All these facts are worth celebrating.
Next month, EV enthusiasts and residents with an interest in the technology will gather for an annual event at Grapevine Mills. Dallas-Fort Worth’s 2018 National Drive Electric Week event will be held at the mall Saturday, September 8 from 10 am – 1 pm. Registration is now open at www.driveelectricweek.org, and details are posted at the official North Texas NDEW website, https://www.dfwcleancities.org/ndew In case you’re new to NDEW or want a reminder of what a celebration of all-things-electric looks like, check out the 2017 North Texas NDEW recap video on our YouTube page:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SVc6aR4KvQ&feature=youtu.be. Hope to see you on September 8!
NDEW is a nationwide celebration to increase awareness of the availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight their benefits. The event in Grapevine is on the first day of NDEW, which is scheduled for September 8-16. Events are planned throughout the US and Canada during the eight-day celebration.
Come see NCTCOG at back-to-school events
The new school year is approaching, which means annual back-to-school events are too! The North Central Texas Council of Governments will attend the Dallas Mayor’s Back-to-School Fair on August 3 at Fair Park and the Tarrant Country Back-to-School Roundup on August 9 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.
NCTCOG staff members will be on hand to provide attendees with information and educational items related to transportation and air quality projects and programs, including bicycle and pedestrian safety initiatives and the AirCheckTexas Program, which provides financial assistance to families to help repair or replace their vehicles. At these events community organizations, nonprofit groups, corporations and state agencies provide free school supplies, health screenings, immunizations and other government and social services that aid students in need who are returning to campus for the beginning of the new academic term.
Attendees will enjoy live entertainment, children’s activities, games and interactive demonstrations. Thousands of Dallas-Fort Worth families attend each year. To see a full list of events the NCTCOG Transportation Department is participating in, visit www.nctcog.org/trans/calendar.
Check out our new website
Our agency website has a brand new look and feel! You’ll find us at the same location, but we’ve worked to make it streamlined, easier to navigate and more convenient for mobile users. We're still optimizing it, so pardon our dust. Visit the Transportation Department page to explore our program areas and resources: www.nctcog.org/trans. Submit comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.