Some speed limits could change by year’s end
The speed limits on many roads that were reduced 13 years ago as part of the region’s effort to meet federal air quality regulations may soon be adjusted, in many cases increasing by 5 mph.
The Regional Transportation Council approved a partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation last month that would allow the adjustments on freeways in parts of Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall and Tarrant counties where “environmental speed limits” were implemented in 2001. Most of the proposed changes would take place outside the immediate urban core area that includes downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth.
Because newer vehicles emit less and are more efficient, current air quality models indicate they do not cause as much of an air quality issue at higher speeds as they once did. Therefore, the existing environmental speed limits can be removed.
Still, the changes will have some impact to air quality in Dallas-Fort Worth, which has 10 counties in nonattainment for ozone.
FWTAxDOT-RTC partnership seeks to address environmental issues potentially caused by the proposed change by providing traffic-flow enhancements such as improved signal timing and expansion of Intelligent Transportation Systems. In 2003, the Texas Legislature eliminated the ability of regions to address environmental concerns by adjusting speed limits. Regions that approved the speed changes were permitted to keep them, but no longer could new ones be implemented. Posted speed limit changes could occur by the end of the year.
The population of the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 1974, the year NCTCOG was designated the region’s metropolitan planning organization.
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