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Progress North Texas 2015

   

A Safer System for You

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The safety of the traveling public, whether by road, rail, or air, is a priority for the North Central Texas Council of Governments. NCTCOG continues to implement and support projects and programs that focus on improving the safety of the region’s roadways, airspace and rail system. 

In 2014, the Dallas-Fort Worth area experienced a total of 104,289 vehicle crashes, of which 16,548 were serious injury crashes and 543 resulted in a fatality. These numbers reflect the importance of training for agencies responsible for managing and clearing traffic incidents on regional and local roadways.

Public safety is a priority for NCTCOG.

 

NCTCOG continues efforts to improve the safety of the region’s roadways and emergency responders by offering Freeway Incident Management training to local police, fire and emergency medical technicians. These agencies work together when responding to crashes to enhance safety for drivers and emergency personnel. As of December 2014, nearly 2,500 emergency responders from 131 cities and counties throughout the region have completed the FIM training offered by NCTCOG.

As part of the regional incident management efforts, NCTCOG helped local police, fire and public works agencies purchase equipment and technology that aid in clearing crashes more quickly and safely.

Over $1.7 million was awarded to public-sector response agencies for traffic control equipment, safety gear, dynamic message signs, radios, and crash investigation technology and training. Equipment and technology that aid in clearing incidents quickly keep both motorists and first responders safe on the roadway and help reduce secondary crashes that may occur in the backup caused by the initial crash.

 Finding Solutions to Reduce Wrong-Way Driving

The National Transportation Safety Board identifies wrong-way driving crashes on high-speed divided highways as the most serious type of collision. Although the wrong-way driving collision occurs less frequently than other crashes, it is more likely to result in fatal and serious injuries than other types of crashes. Between 2008 and 2014, nearly 49 percent of wrong-way driving crashes throughout the region occurred in Dallas County. 

 

In 2012, NCTCOG began working with the Texas Department of Transportation and local jurisdictions in Dallas County to develop a Wrong-Way Driving Pilot Project. The project focuses on preventing wrong-way driving along regional corridors through the implementation of intersection improvements, signage and/or other available countermeasures.  

The improvements implemented through this phase of the pilot project include the elimination of conflicting lane assignment signs and markings; the addition of straight-arrow lane markings in extended turn bays; the addition of straight-arrow signal bulbs over extended turn bays, instead of the traditional green balls; and the addition or relocation of larger one-way signs on signal mast arms as close to the left-turn lane as possible.

These changes will result in uniform and consistent traffic control at the designated intersections, which is expected to reduce the confusion of all motorists, including impaired drivers. The project focuses on 350 diamond interchanges throughout Dallas County. Work was initiated on many of these intersections in 2014 and is expected to be complete in 2015. The final task of the pilot project will be to conduct a project after-study to determine if the intersection modifications effectively reduced wrong way driving incidents.

Plans are underway to conduct a similar pilot project in the western part of the region.



 

Aviation

 

Safety is paramount in the skies above the region. Keeping the airport infrastructure and airspace system running smoothly is a priority for the Federal Aviation Administration, TxDOT and local airport operators. 

 

In 2014, airports in North Texas received approximately $36 million in grant funding from TxDOT as part of their annual Airport Capital Improvement Program.

These projects include enhancements to safety and capacity to ensure the viability of over 25 regional aviation facilities and nearly 4,000 daily flights that operate in the region.

Tower 55

The $104 million Tower 55 project was pursued for many years before its completion by BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad in November 2014.

The intersection of the BNSF and UP rail corridors at Tower 55 in downtown Fort Worth is one of the nation's busiest rail intersections, with some 100 trains moving through the area daily. The addition of an 18,000-foot third track running 9,000 feet both north and south of Tower 55 reduced congestion for locomotives and motorists.

 

Safety was another important component of this project. In addition to the new track, the project also closed existing grade crossings at First Street and Peach Street, and provided wider and higher underpasses with sidewalks at Gounah Street and Cold Springs Road. The reduction of rail and roadway congestion in this area provides relief for residents of the Trinity Bluffs neighborhood, northeast of downtown Fort Worth.

 

The completion of the Tower 55 Project also gives children, families and school staff better access to the nearby Charles E. Nash Elementary School. Additionally, emergency vehicles have improved access to the surrounding area as a result of the project. These safety improvements have contributed to extensive economic redevelopment and greater walkability throughout the Trinity Bluffs neighborhood.

Improvements to an overpass at Gounah Street will help trains move through the Tower 55 area more efficiently while providing emergency vehicles better access. Many public- and private-sector entities were involved in funding and input for the $104 million project, including the federal government, Texas Department of Transportation, City of Fort Worth, Fort Worth Transportation Authority

10/31/2016 06/15/2012 JS

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