Driving around Texas, bumper-to-bumper with trucks and 18-wheelers, with a Texas-sized commute, one cannot help but wonder as you pass yet-another construction zone, “What’s the plan here, folks?”
Oil trucks and equipment trucks in the Midland/Odessa area, construction from new houses to offices, rising populations in Collin County, and road and highway construction, well, just about everywhere – Texas is experiencing a perfect storm for traffic with more cars on the road, more large vehicles and more people in the area.
That brings on one more increase – a rise in serious car and truck crashes.
So, what comes next for our roads and how do we attack the problem?
For that, we turn to the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), tasked with developing and maintaining a metropolitan transportation plan. It coordinates with cities, counties, transportation partners, and the public to plan road, transit, bicycle, pedestrian, and other mobility improvements in North Texas.
As the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Dallas- Arlington-Fort Worth area, NCTCOG is required to maintain a long-range transportation plan that defines a path for the region’s multimodal transportation system. The plan also guides expenditures of state and federal transportation funds over the next 20-plus years.
Mobility 2045 was adopted as the current Metropolitan Transportation Plan for North Central Texas by the Regional Transportation Council on June 14, 2018. Mobility 2045 is the product of a comprehensive, cooperative, and continuous planning effort. Providing a variety of transportation options now and into the future is essential to creating a high quality of life in the Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth area.
Since you may consider the large report to be somewhat lacking in drama, we’ve filtered it down to some major points. And, boring or not, this plan and its success or failure will likely impact you if you live in North Texas.
We’ve highlighted the goals of the plan and pulled out some of the key points:
1. Mobility – At its most basic, a transportation plan has to guide us down a road where we can literally get down the road – quickly and conveniently.
Per the report, “Providing transportation choices is vital to maintaining and improving the quality of life for North Central Texas residents. Mobility 2045 considers improvements to roadways, public transportation, active transportation (bicycle and pedestrian), and freight. Because the transportation needs of the region far outweigh the available funds, strategic investment in infrastructure is required. Mobility 2045 recommendations strike a balance between meeting the most critical mobility needs while making a variety of transportation options available.”
2. Quality of Life – So much goes into what makes an area a great place to live. To continue to keep the quality of life high for our area, we need to make sure to maintain our current resources while keeping an eye out on tomorrow.
For transportation, quality of life includes the ability to get to work and play. The report notes, though, that we’ve seen a shift in demographics of the people who use local transportation.
“Changes in how different generations use transportation may also impact the transportation system. Improved mobility, accessibility, and choice should strike a balance with the needs of North Central Texans,” it reads.
3. System Sustainability – Texas has miles and miles of highways and roads, more than most other states. But that means we have to work to maintain our roads that much more.
“North Central Texas is not only economically and socially diverse, but it is also environmentally diverse.,” the report reads. “The environment provides services millions of people rely on for clean air, water, and recreational opportunities. The environment is key not just for supporting quality of life for humans, but also for preserving essential habitat for wildlife.”
We will continue to monitor the plan and its implementation as it will decidedly impact many of our clients.