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Progress North Texas 2014


Growth by Millions

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Growth by Millions

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Input from North
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North Texas is currently the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the nation, with a population of almost 7 million people. The region has been expanding since 1900. North Texas grew by almost 2 percent between 2011 and 2012, slightly more than the 1.5 percent growth rate seen at the state level. The region has been attracting an average of more than 100,000 people per year for decades, but is not growing uniformly across the region.

Transportation planners monitor various types of travel data so the right decisions are made in the right places to ensure efficient and equitable use of limited funding. Monitoring the patterns of population growth is important, especially in a region that must make tough choices because of limited funding.   

Annual Population Growth (Percentage)
Population growth in the Dallas-Fort Worth area has consistently outpaced gains both statewide and nationally since 1970.

Traffic counts 

The map shows traffic volume changes from 2010-2011 (the latest period for which information is available) on 19,000 roadway segments monitored in North Texas. The areas experiencing the most population and employment growth are seeing similar gains in traffic, while places where population is declining or projects are under construction are seeing corresponding drops in traffic. 

This data helps planners understand where the greatest need exists so they can direct limited local, state and federal resources to the right areas. According to TxDOT, daily vehicle miles traveled increased from 148.5 million to 164.6 million miles between 1999 and 2011, but VMT per person decreased during the same period, from 28.6 to 25.1 miles. Economic conditions and land-use density aid in the decrease of VMT per person.


Transit ridership 

One of the real success stories in North Texas is the forecasting that has helped lead to the expansion of the rail system since Dallas Area Rapid Transit introduced the first light rail service in 1996. Ridership estimates have been accurate, helping transit agencies expand in the best locations and provide better service, making the most of limited resources.

Rail ridership has shown increases since the 1990s, but bigger changes are ahead.  This rail system provides a reliable transportation choice for about 100,000 riders per workday in the current year. NCTCOG's analysis shows that transit ridership will increase to 300,000 per workday by 2035, likely due to increased availability of transit and its establishment in strategic locations, where it can effectively serve the growing population and employment. 


The Great Recession hurt many areas of the country, including North Texas. However, the region has seen considerable job gains for some time now, excluding during the worst of the downturn. The recession did not show a significant effect on toll road usage in North Texas, which continued to rise steadily through the worst of the downturn.  


NCTCOG’s transit forecasts have accurately projected ridership since passenger rail debuted. As rail options increase and the region becomes denser, ridership is expected to rise by 200% from 2013 to 2035. 

Employment vs. Toll Transactions
Toll road usage in Dallas-Fort Worth climbed from 1 million in 2004 to 1.6 million in 2011, showing resilience even during the Great Recession. Employment dipped between 2008 and 2009, but has now recovered.  

The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors who are responsible for the opinions, findings, and conclusions presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration or the Texas Department of Transportation. This document was prepared in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Trasnportation, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration.

1/26/2018 9/20/2013 HC %Arc

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