Local Motion - May 2020

A monthly update on the activities of the Regional Transportation Council and the North Central Texas Council of Governments Transportation Department

Bike Month takes broader approach with COVID-19

May is National Bike Month, a coast-to-coast celebration of bicycling as a healthy alternative to motorized transportation. With a larger share of the nation’s population currently working from home, many people are looking to bicycling as a fun and simple way to remain active.

Regionwide, bicycling has been on the rise since early March. Data from bicycle and pedestrian counters along various Dallas-Fort Worth area trails shows an average daily increase of more than 200%.

Bike to Work

The League of American Bicyclists decided to postpone this year’s Bike to Work Week until September 21-27. Bike to Work Day will take place on September 22, coinciding with Car Free Day.

Bike to Work Day traditionally takes place during Bike to Work Week in May. It entails outreach at transit stops and jobsites, where advocates offer refreshments and information to commuters who choose bicycling as an alternative to driving for the day.

Many agencies and community groups are viewing the postponement as an opportunity to support bicycling through a more holistic approach. Rather than focusing on a one-day event, support for active transportation may be more broadly and effectively promoted throughout the entire month, with a greater focus on bicycling to the grocery store or with the family than to the office.

On its website, the League noted that bicycling is an “essential need” during this time of restricted travel for households that may have limited or no access to vehicles, as well as for those who “need to get out and be active while maintaining distance from others.”

For more information about Bike Month, visit www.bikeleague.org/bikemonth, and for safety tips for all road users visit www.lookouttexans.org.

Regional transit survey postponed 

The 2020 transit survey has been temporarily postponed due to COVID-19. The survey is being conducted in coordination with the region’s three transit agencies – Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Denton County Transportation Authority and Trinity Metro – and is being completed in two phases.

The first type is a stop-to-stop survey and will help planners understand passenger trip patterns on each bus route and rail line. The second type of survey will be conducted through interviews with easily identifiable personnel.

Surveys of DART, TRE, the Dallas Streetcar, and the M-Line Trolley passengers began in February and were to conclude in May.

However, with changes necessitated by the ongoing pandemic, the transit survey has been postponed. NCTCOG is monitoring the situation and will coordinate with the transit agencies to determine when to resume the survey.
The goal of the surveys is to determine how riders are using the expanding transit system and what changes could be made in the future to better accommodate the needs of the rapidly growing region. Transit will continue to be a key component of the regional transportation system with Dallas-Fort Worth adding more than 1 million people per decade.

For more information please visit www.nctcog.org/transitsurvey2020.

HNTB selected to study high-speed alternatives in Dallas-Fort Worth

The NCTCOG Executive Board has approved a contract with the consulting firm HNTB Corp. to study high-speed transportation options in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington corridor. HNTB will provide technical support for the analysis of potential alternatives, operations/service planning and preliminary engineering, as well as environmental documentation for high-speed passenger service between Dallas and Fort Worth.

As part of the study, HNTB and local transportation planners are investigating the best high-speed transportation option to link residents across North Texas to the proposed high-speed rail service expected to be built between Dallas and Houston. Also, connection to a potential system from Fort Worth to Laredo will be studied.

Additionally, North Texas is under consideration for a Hyperloop Certification Center, where hyperloop technology would be tested for implementation across the US.

NCTCOG offers kids fun transportation activities

Balancing home schooling our kids with getting our own work done while at home flattening the curve can be a challenge.

Area school districts are doing a nice job supplying at-home learning. But what happens for children not old enough to attend school yet? Or when those who do are finished with their classwork and you have a few hours of work left to go?

NCTCOG has put together resources for kids of all ages to teach them about transportation and air quality along with the three R’s.
There are coloring activities, opportunities for kids to design a helmet – or even create a car! – and trivia to test their knowledge about air quality, bike safety and clean vehicles.

Additionally, online tours and field trips from many cool transportation-related museums are available at the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger. Just visit www.nctcog.org/trans/about/educate/transportation-activities for these and other activities.

And be sure to check out the NCTCOG Transportation Department social media pages often for more fun and games.

Transit agencies receive federal COVID-19 help

The Regional Transportation Council approved allocations of more than $300 million to area transit agencies in April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Federal Transit Administration funding is meant to help transit providers affected by the change in travel patterns brought about by stay-at-home orders across the nation.

The funding was awarded to agencies in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington and Denton-Lewisville urbanized areas, with DART, DCTA and Trinity Metro receiving most of the money.

NCTCOG is responsible for administering approximately $11 million of the funding for five smaller agencies, known as subrecipients. A final determination on what they will receive is expected this month.

Department launches new interactive map tool

NCTCOG’s Transportation Department is now accepting public input through a new online mapping tool. Map Your Experience is intuitive and designed to help NCTCOG use public input to collaborate with partners and develop innovative solutions for regional transportation issues.


Members of the public can provide as many comments as they wish as well as browse and comment on pins placed by others on the map. Providing personal information is optional and will not be visible to others in the tool. However, users will be asked to provide their ZIP code to help staff better serve their community as well as communities across the region.

The tool is currently in beta test mode and is open to the public. Staff will reassess the tool in the fall to ensure it is fully functional and meeting users’ needs.

Comments from the test period will be used to guide upcoming planning efforts, including an update to Mobility 2045, the region’s long-range metropolitan transportation plan.

Be heard. Help us plan for the future and share your transportation experience at www.nctcog.org/mapyourexperience.

Online input opportunity begins May 11

North Texans can provide online input for regional transportation planning and air quality initiatives beginning May 11.

NCTCOG staff will post information related to the Metropolitan Transportation Plan, the State’s 10-Year Plan and several air quality projects. Comments will be accepted through June 9 at www.nctcog.org/input.

The NCTCOG Transportation Department maintains several long-range planning documents, including the Metropolitan Transportation Plan and 10-Year Plan.

The MTP has a planning horizon of at least 20 years and guides the expenditure of federal and State transportation funding. The 10-Year Plan identifies major projects to be implemented in the region by Fiscal Year 2030.

Details on a planned update to the current MTP, known as Mobility 2045, and the 10-Year Plan will be provided for review and comment.

Staff will also post presentations related to the current ozone season, impacts from COVID-19 on the transportation system and an update on two upcoming fleet data collection projects for natural gas and electric vehicles.

The new interactive mapping tool, updated Air Quality Handbook, Regional Smoking Vehicle Program and vehicle incentive opportunities will also be highlighted.

An audio recording of the presentations will be posted at www.nctcog.org/input.

To request printed copies of the presentations to be discussed, contact Carli Baylor at 817-608-2365 or cbaylor@nctcog.org.

Imagery Provided By NCTCOG and Getty Images