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Progress North Texas 2015

   

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Mobility Management 

While personal vehicles make it easier to get around, not everyone in Dallas-Fort Worth drives. This can make it challenging for those who need to see a doctor or just run errands. My Ride Dallas (www.MyRideDallas.org) and My Ride Tarrant (www.MyRideTarrant.org) are organizations in Dallas and Tarrant counties that can help connect residents to transportation providers so they can access necessary medical appointments, the grocery store or work.

New technologies are creating more travel options.


Each organization has a person on staff whom people can speak to for free about their specific transportation needs. Although the service is available for many purposes, providing rides to medical appointments is especially important to many clients. It gives them a sense of independence, because they no longer have to rely on family or friends for transportation.

  Funded through the North Central Texas Council of Governments, projects like My Ride Dallas and My Ride Tarrant use federal transit dollars intended to help seniors, individuals with disabilities, and others with significant transportation challenges overcome hurdles and get where they need to go.

Technology Provides Access to Flexible Transportation 

New technologies are helping riders use taxis and limousines more efficiently through smartphone apps that provide easy access to scheduling and booking trips. Apps are also key to riders accessing new peer-to-peer transportation options like Uber and Lyft. These transportation network companies offer opportunities to request same-day rides. This type of transportation is a flexible way to get around.

 

Though new to the DFW area, peer-to-peer transportation is growing fast; the existing for-hire fleet was virtually doubled with the introduction of peer-to-peer transportation services. This expands available transportation options to a large part of the region. Since this is a new mode of transportation, NCTCOG and local cities are working closely to determine proper regulations through the creation of local and regional ordinances. 

 

The GoPass app, is also making it more convenient to use the region’s expanding transit system. Available for free for Apple and Android devices, it allows users to plan trips and buy tickets to travel on Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Fort Worth Transportation Authority or Denton County Transportation Authority buses and trains. Since the app was launched in late 2013, it has been downloaded an average of 537 times per day. More than 1.5 million tickets have been bought through the app, according to DART.

 

Try Parking It & DFW Connect-A-Ride

 

When it comes to the morning commute, getting to an event and more, driving alone is not the only option. FWTAravel Demand Management Program at NCTCOG provides tools that can decrease the stress of trips and save families money on their transportation budget. TryParkingIt.com and DFWConnectARide.com are two resources for alternate commutes. 

 

Try Parking It allows users to log daily work commutes and view the environmental and financial impacts of their choices. The site also matches users with other commuters with similar travel routes for possible rideshare opportunities. DFW Connect-A-Ride caters more to occasional carpooling needs, providing real-time ridesharing to quickly match customers with others in their area. 

 

Regional Vanpool Program

 

The Regional Vanpool Program is also an available alternative in North Texas. Operated by DART, The T and DCTA, the regional vanpool program plays a significant role in easing road congestion and providing more hassle-free work trips. The program provided an average of 3,149 riders per month with this alternate commute option and reduced more than 330,000 pounds of emissions in 2014. 

 

The table below provides 2014 vanpool data from each transit agency involved with the program, as well as a combined total of the year’s data. The emissions and trip reductions of the vanpools illustrate the positive impact of the program on the North Texas Environment.

 

2014 Vanpool Data

Active Transportation

 

Active transportation, or bicycling and walking, is an integral part of the transportation system in North Texas. As a mode, active transportation can positively impact the region by reducing vehicle trips, resulting in less congestion and improved air quality and health. One method of encouraging more biking and walking is to provide facilities where people feel safe and enjoy traveling to their destinations. 

$38.2 million in federal funds to active transportation

Connecting these users to employment centers, transit, shopping and educational destinations is a priority for NCTCOG as it coordinates with local governments to expand the regional active transportation network. In October, the Regional Transportation Council awarded $38.2 million in federal funding to help active transportation infrastructure across the region. Projects using these funds will build more than 40 miles of sidewalks and bikeways, contributing to a growing network of convenient facilities.

These projects include improving sidewalk access to schools in several communities, which allows more children to safely walk to school. Many of the funded projects will improve shared-use paths (trails), which are transportation corridors where families can enjoy a group ride or where parents can teach their children how to ride a bicycle.

Among the most anticipated improvements to receive funding through the initiative is a regional trail corridor extending from downtown Fort Worth to downtown Dallas and backed in 2013 by the mayors of Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Irving and Dallas. Ultimately, the regional trail will provide a continuous network linking parks, nature areas, schools, businesses and neighborhoods in these cities is projected to cost $30 million. 

NCTCOG is initiating an education and safety campaign to address walking and bicycling safety across the region. The Bike/Walk North Texas campaign will be assisted by regional stakeholders who will help guide the safety campaign messaging and provide input on how to best address safety outreach in local communities.   

 

Choices on the Road

 

The DFW roadway system also provides commuters options. There are 910 centerline miles of traditional freeways and toll roads in the region. Additional capacity is important to ensure that transportation runs smoothly. 

 

A new congestion-fighting tool has been introduced to North Texans –TEXpress Lanes. These tolled, managed lanes are similar to traditional high-occupancy vehicle lanes that have been operating in North Texas since the early 1990s. However, they use variable tolls to help commuters reach their destinations more efficiently and are open to solo drivers. Three highway projects – the North Tarrant Express, LBJ Express and DFW Connector – have pioneered the concept of TEXpress Lanes. HOV Motorists have the choice of using the free general-purpose lanes or paying to use the TEXpress Lanes. Motorists who pre-register using the free Drive on TEXpress app can qualify for peak-period discounts on the DFW Connector, North Tarrant Express and LBJ Express. To date, the app has been downloaded by 9,323 customers. 

In 2014, the DFW Connector’s four-mile stretch of toll lanes on State Highway 114 opened along with the entire 13.3-mile North Tarrant Express (Interstate Highway 820 and SH 121/183) and the second phase of the LBJ Express project in north Dallas. By the end of 2015, the entire LBJ Express project is expected to be open. The reconstructed IH 35W in Fort Worth will also feature TEXpress Lanes, as will other projects throughout the region. 

 

10/31/2016 06/15/2012 JS

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