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Mobility Matters - Images of a freight truck traveling on a highway, downtown Fort Worth, a TRE locomotive, downtown Dallas skyline and highway traffic; Celebrating 35 Years of Regional Transportation Excellence, 1974 - 2009 Winter/Spring 2010 — Quarterly newsletter of the Metropolitan Planning Organization

Region Seeks Opinions on Transportation Priorities
Roads to the Super Bowl - A Message from Michael Morris, Transportation Director
Medrono Works to Educate Region of Count's Importance - RTC Member Profile
Dallas-Fort Worth Planning Area Expands to 12 Counties
9-County Nonattainment Area Could Be Reclassified By EPA
2 Local Projects Awarded TIGER Discretionary Funds

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Region Seeks Opinions on Transportation Priorities

The population of the Dallas-Fort Worth area is expectedto eclipse 10 million in 25 years, an increase of more than 50 percent. With such a staggering growth rate, the transportation system will be severely strained without additional revenue to improve the flow of people and goods throughout D-FW.

Across North Texas, new roads and rail expansion are giving people choices they’ve never had before. And an ambitious plan to build an interconnected network of bicycle and pedestrian trails is helping popularize a mode of travel not always a focal point in expansive metropolitan areas.

These and other programs stand to benefit from the development of the next long-range transportation plan, Mobility 2035. This is the successor to Mobility 2030, which projects needs for the next 20 years.

Mobility 2035

Mobility 2035
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The Dallas-Fort Worth area’s ozone concerns mean no improvements are made without careful consideration of how changes will affect air quality. And to add another wrinkle to the process, all major improvements must be financially constrained, or affordable based on projected revenue.

Planners are gathering information, including input from the public, in preparation for the new regional transportation blueprint. Now, it’s the residents’ turn to speak up about how they think the region should handle transportation projects in an era of great needs and scarce resources.

The Regional Transportation Council in December conducted a series of workshops and public meetings around the 12-county area in an attempt to gather input early. It is important for planners to know what residents think about how to improve the region’s multimodal transportation system so NCTCOG can meet the needs of people for the next quarter-century.

A look back at the growth of the past decade might be helpful in understanding the importance of long-range planning. Since 2000, the 12 counties that make up the metropolitan planning area have welcomed 1.3 million new residents, bringing the population up to 6.5 million.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has become the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the country, and with the region’s economy projected to continue growing in years to come, the population expansion shows few signs of slowing significantly. NCTCOG will work with its regional partners, as well as the public, to develop long-range recommendations. Mobility 2035 is being put together at a time when environmental awareness and people’s impact on the planet are increasingly important to transportation policy. It all starts with the people who use the transportation system every day.

NCTCOG will consider eight factors as it develops the long-range transportation plan. Mobility 2035 should do the following:

  • Support economic vitality.
  • Increase safety of the system for motorized and nonmotorized users.
  • Increase the ability of the transportation system to support homeland security.
  • Improve accessibility and mobility for people and freight.
  • Protect and enhance the environment, improve the quality of life and promote consistency between transportation improvements and state and local planned growth and economic development patterns.
  • Enhance the integration and connectivity of the tranpsortation system.
  • Promote efficient system management and operation of the system.
  • Preserve the existing transportation system.

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Roads to the Super Bowl
Transportation Paramount to Success of Game, Related Events
A Message from Michael Morris, Transportation Director
When the Super Bowl kicks off next February, most people will be focused on Cowboys Stadium and the teams on the field. It’s understandable if the $1.2 billion new home of America’s Team steals a few headlines. The shiny, new mega-stadium is now the standard against which future NFL facilities will be measured.

Long before the TV cameras role February 6, important details must be addressed. The North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee has worked tirelessly since the game was awarded to the region in 2007 to make sure the things not part of the broadcast are given the proper attention so fans are left with positive memories of Dallas-Fort Worth.

North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee logo
Logo: N. Texas Super Bowl Host Committee


N. Texas Super Bowl Host Committee
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And the region has wholeheartedly embraced the opportunity to promote North Texas. Hospitality and tourism representatives, law enforcement, local governments, the private sector and transportation officials are all crucial to the success of this endeavor.

Super Bowl XLV will draw more than 100,000 spectators, but we’ll have far more visitors throughout the week who will eat at our restaurants, stay at our hotels and shop at our stores. These highly valued guests will also flock to our cities to enjoy the pre-game pageantry.

The popular NFL Experience, a concert series and numerous activities showcasing the region’s rich cultural heritage are all certain to draw plenty of attention. And that means aggressive planning and contingency development to minimize traffic congestion.

I spent Super Bowl Sunday this year – from 9:30 a.m. to midnight – in South Florida’s Joint Operations Center, studying how a region that has hosted 10 Super Bowls managed traffic flow.

South Florida has figured out how to keep the league coming back. We hope that by showcasing our regional treasures and the famous Texas hospitality, we can make North Texas a regular stop for the NFL’s championship.

In transportation, preparations for an event of this magnitude have been under way for several years, dating to North Texas’ efforts to secure the 2012 Olympic Games. We took what we learned from that experience, tweaked a few things and developed a plan that could be a model for future host cities.

We are ready to show how the multimodal transportation system our residents depend on will contribute to a memorable Super Bowl experience for all involved.

Tremendous progress is being made in North Texas on the roads and other modes of transportation. The entire system will be under the microscope next year, and each provider has a significant part to play.

We have to figure out how to move our visitors around while ensuring residents can get to work in the morning and home to see their families in the evening. In the fifth-most congested region in the country, this is no small task. It will require innovative changes to the roadway and rail systems we rely on every day – and even greater focus on aviation.

On Super Bowl Sunday, fans will be able to board Trinity Railway Express trains in Tarrant and Dallas counties and be dropped near Cowboys Stadium. The Host Committee has been negotiating with Union Pacific Railroad to move the TRE trains to the UP tracks that run near the stadium for Super Bowl Sunday. Buses would pick fans up at a temporary rail station and take them to the game.

Another difference during the week will be lanes of Interstate Highway 30 – temporarily renamed Tom Landry Super Bowl Highway – dedicated to vehicles transporting people to and from scheduled Super Bowl-related events. With so much morning and afternoon traffic, how will we do this without significantly affecting the trips of residents?

For starters, each regional partner will be counted on to help. And there will be a multitude of additional options for getting around: 10,000 rental cars, 1,000 taxis, 750 buses and 500 limousines.

Major concerts, the NBA All-Star Game and a season of Cowboys games have all served as dress rehearsals for the opportunity ahead.

And when we’re done, the Super Bowl lessons learned will help us better understand how to maximize our transportation resources to ensure more reliable commutes every day. That’s one of the hidden benefits of hosting internationally recognized special events.

If we perform well, the entire metropolitan area will be better equipped for the daily issues when the spotlight has faded.

And when the time comes to host another Super Bowl, the league will have a smooth ride back to North Texas. After all, mobility matters.

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Medrano Works to Educate Region of Count's Importance
Regional Transportation Council Member Profile - Pauline Medrano, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem, City of Dallas

Pauline Medrano speaks with passion about the census and its effect on the entire region. Dallas-Fort Worth has grown substantially over the past decade, adding more than 1 million residents. Cities and towns across the metropolitan area have grappled with impressive growth rates, some areas seeing their complexions change entirely.

Medrano, who serves as deputy mayor pro tem of Dallas, is playing a key role in Census 2010. She was appointed last year as vice chairman of the Census Advisory Committee, which helped with the design and implementation of the decennial count of Americans.

United State Census 2010

U.S. Census
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The 2010 census will allow the federal government to officially collect information about the area’s population and demographic facts that will help determine the dispersal of funding. The information gathered by the census this year will help determine construction of schools, roads, hospitals and other infrastructure essential to the continued success of the region. With privacy concerns on Americans’ minds, everyone will receive the short form. The 10-question form is expected to take about 10 minutes to complete.

As more people move to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and visit for business and pleasure, having the right transportation choices helps shape people’s opinions of the region, she said.

“You want them to have a pleasant experience in the area because you want them to come back,” she said.

Medrano said she learned quickly how important it is for Dallas to have smooth connections to the city.
Although council members must make decisions with their constituents in mind, Medrano believes it is essential to consider the effect of her actions on the entire region.

This philosophy helps Medrano in her capacity as a member of the Regional Transportation Council, which sets transportation policy for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The RTC is well-respected and is completing projects that will help the region emerge stronger from the recent recession, Medrano said.

Thanks to the RTC’s cooperation with local, state and federal partners, the area is going to see new roadways, rail lines and bicycle trails built in the coming years in an effort to accommodate the residents who call Dallas-Fort Worth home.

It is believed Texas will be one of the first states to bounce back and that D-FW will be the first area to begin moving forward again, she said. With an accurate count of all its residents, North Texas will be in an even better position to continue the growth that has helped it become an economic and transportation leader.

All the state-of-the-art venues and attractions will do no good if people can’t get to them. And the Dallas-Fort Worth area has a variety of well-developed options from which people can choose. If Dallas residents want to visit Fort Worth, they can board the Trinity Railway Express downtown and be there in a few minutes, without having to struggle through stop-and-go traffic. There’s also Dallas Area Rapid Transit on the eastern side.

And visitors who travel to the region for business meetings or conventions should be able to easily and enjoyably experience what the region has to offer, she said.

They don’t care where they are when they fly into Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

The important thing is to demonstrate to them that they have a wealth of transportation options and knowledgeable people to answer any questions.

For those who live here – and those who will in the future – roads can be transformative. They lead to economic development and move the entire region closer together, she said.

Cities are not so far away when a bridge is built to connect them, Medrano said. An accurate count of Dallas-Fort Worth residents is the first step toward providing the resources to ensure the region can make the transportation improvements well into the future.

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Mobility Matters is prepared in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. 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.

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