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Local Motion - photos of the TRE, traffic in the IH 30 managed/HOV lane, Fort Worth, airplane

December 2017

Grand Praire repeats as air quality Partner of the Year

Grand Prairie was named Air North Texas Partner of the Year for the second straight year in November. The City developed a comprehensive campaign including website content, social media promotion, newsletter articles about air quality and promotion of Air North Texas.

The city encouraged companies to compete against one another to determine who could commit to the most new clean air initiatives through the Clean Air Action Challenge. A total of 647 pledges were made by companies in the City, with Lockheed Martin leading the way.

Dallas was recognized for its Outstanding Effort in Outreach. Dallas used its website, social media platforms and advertising to promote Air North Texas, encouraging the public and its employees to make clean air commitments. Additionally, Dallas earned the Arlo Ambassador Award for incorporating Arlo the Airmadillo into a social media campaign encouraging participation in Air North Texas.

Plano was recognized for its Outstanding Effort in Partner Involvement. The Live Green in Plano air quality webpage included information about Air North Texas, while encouraging visitors to become partners.

For the third consecutive year, the Hood County Clean Air Coalition earned the award for Outstanding Effort in Advertising. The Coalition sponsored three public service announcements that discussed car commitments, home commitments and smoking vehicles. The award for Outstanding Effort in Initiative went to the University of North Texas Health Science Center, which created its own Clean Air Action Day pledge to increasecampus involvement and award participation. A total of 116 people took the
Photo of air north texas partner of the year winners

NCTCOG photo

The City of Grand Prairie was named Air North Texas Partner of the Year in November. This is the second consecutive year the city has earned the top air quality award. Joining RTC Chair Rob Franke (left) are Elizabeth Tolentino, Cindy Mendez and Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen.

pledge. Air North Texas aims to help improve air quality as 10 North Texas counties strive to meet the Environmental Protection Agency regulation for ozone pollution.

Officials celebrate completion of 35Express


The first phase of the multibillion improvement of Interstate Highway 35E north of LBJ Freeway is substantially complete, meaning vehicles traveling to and from Denton on the eastern side of the region now have smoother commutes. The project, known as 35 Express, involved expansion of approximately 30 miles of IH 35E between LBJ and US Highway 380 and has been a top priority of the Regional Transportation Council’s for several years.

The Texas Department of Transportation and public officials along the corridor celebrated the milestone with a ribbon cutting in early November. The project included reversible TEXpress Lanes, rebuilt general-purpose lanes and continuous frontage roads. The TEXpress Lanes opened in May and run 18 miles, providing motorists an option to pay for smoother drives if the adjacent lanes are congested. They can use the general-purpose lanes and frontage roads for no additional charge.

The $1.4 billion project was funded from a mix of federal, state and local sources.
Photo of 35 Express ribbon cutting

35 Express photo

A ribbon cutting for thefirst phase of the $1.5 billion expansion of Interstate Highway 35E was conducted last month to celebrate the substantial completion of the project.


How About A New Pair of Glasses this Holiday Season


By Michael Morris
Director of Transportation

Epiphany is defined as "a grasp of reality through one event usually simple and striking."
The occasion for me was the Fort Worth ISD 2017 Academic Chairs For Teaching
Excellence, held on Wednesday, November 15, 2017. This program created
an interest and a volunteer opportunity for me to assist the Fort Worth School District. The assignment was to serve on 1 of 16 committees to review teacher applications, letters of support and conduct interviews. Pretty routine, yet rewarding.

I was flattered as a committee member to be invited to the recognition event,
but unprepared. After hearing from sponsors highlighting their commitment to teaching
excellence and hearing the real world life experiences of the most gifted teachers and the impact on students, I was challenged. In the same one-hour presentation
I felt everything I was doing and had done in transportation seemed so miniscule, I also felt that my worst day does not compare to the challenges and home situations
in which some of our children live and to which the school district willingly responds without conditions.

This opportunity created a new lens for me and blessed by a very small contribution of volunteering. This lens taught me that a school district does not make changes in big lifts like one of our transportation cranes but through an environment that creates thousands of life changing opportunities for parents, students and the teachers. One encounter at a time, every hour, every school, every day. This new granular perspective has taught me that what I may know to be correct may not be.

It may be too broad, too general, not precise. How often have we all said we know what the answer to urban school needs, and be honest, we really didn't have a clue. 

As a community, we have a lot to be thankful for. The collective group is doing well but families in our own neighborhoods are hurting. We need to change our lens, perspective and see. This experience with the FWISD has taught me to get less of my news from others in the confines of my home and more information from life efforts of volunteering, becoming a sponsor, participating in life and listening. We need to get our eyes examined, lenses updated, focus and see from our life experiences not opinions fed to us by our laziness. 

Make this holiday season more meaningful, more active, more real, one encounter at a time, every hour, every day.
Michael Morris, P.E.., is director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments. A version of this column was published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.) Photo of michael morris, director of transportation.



Oklahoma-to-South Texas High-Speed Rail Study Advances to Next Phase


A federally funded study to determine the feasibility of passenger rail service between Oklahoma City and South Texas recently advanced to the next phase allowing for
continued exploration of the proposed route. 

The $7 million Texas-Oklahoma Passenger Rail Study covers an 850-mile corridor
broken into three segments going from Oklahoma City to Dallas-Fort Worth; Dallas -
Fort Worth to San Antonio; and San Antonio to South Texas.
The next step would be a project-level environmental study to determine actual routes and environmental impacts of the service before construction and start of service. 

At this point, a private developer could step forward to determine future project possibilities. -- TxDOT


Deadlines for TERP Grants Approaching


Entities considering applying for two types of grants offered through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Texas Emissions Reduction Program should act fast. The deadlines for both are approaching early in the new year. 

• The Alternative Fueling Facilities Program (AFFP) offers grants for construction or expansion of alternative fuel fueling
stations within the Clean Transportation Zone, which includes the 12-county metropolitan planning area. The application deadline is January 16, 2018. 

• A simplified first-come, first-served program is offering Rebate Grants for the repower or replacement of diesel heavy-duty vehicles and non-road equipment. The Application deadline is February 13, 2018.

An opportunity through the Texas Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program, which offers grants for the repower or replacement of medium- or heavy-duty vehicles with natural gas or propane, is coming soon. Program details and application instructions for these programs can be found at
          TERP logo



2017 Clean Vehicle Call for Projects Opening Soon


Need to replace a vehicle? Funding may soon be available to help with the purchase, just in time
for the holidays. 

During December, NCTCOG will open a 2017 Clean Diesel Call for Projects.This opportunity
will pay for up to 45 percent of the cost of replacing heavy-duty diesel vehicles or
non-road equipment owned by public fleets or private entities contracted to local governments.

For more information on these and other funding opportunities visit



Public Input Sought on List of Funded Projects


Proposed modifications to the list of funded projects will be available for review during
the upcoming online public comment period, scheduled to begin December 11. 

A comprehensive list of funded transportation projects through 2020 is maintained
in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Projects with committed funds
from federal, state and local sources are included in the TIP. 
To maintain an accurate project listing, this document is updated on a regular basis.

Information will be online through January 10, 2018, at
To request printed copies, call 817-608-2365 or email



Traffic Counts Empower Transportation Planning


NCTCOG has published a new fact sheet focusing on traffic counts. Traffic counts are integral to economic development and the transportation planning process because they provide vital information about vehicular demand on roadways to engineers,
real estate developers, planners and other decision-makers. 

Traffic counts help people understand where improvements for economic activity and transportation infrastructure can be made. NCTCOG uses traffic counts to make  models that project future demand on roadways and has a traffic count database at
This database encompasses 50,000 locations in 16 counties. Traffic counts help the system work more efficiently to accommodate drivers as the region expands. Already, more than 180 million miles are driven in North Texas on the average weekday. 

As the population climbs toward 11 million, which is projected by 2045, this number will grow. NCTCOG will continue to track the totals as it seeks to improve mobility. More information is available at



Take a Spin in a Driverless Shuttle on Dec. 7th


A demonstration of the new Milo automated shuttle is scheduled for 9 am December 7
at the Globe Life Park Rav4 Parking Lot (on the corner of Nolan Ryan Expressway). 

A group discussion on how public transit providers can adapt to the coming of AVs will follow at 11:30 am. 
NCTCOG will host a workshop at 8 am December 8 about how data from the community-based mapping app Waze can be used to enhance transportation, 911 services and emergency preparedness. 

To register for either event and learn more, visit



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By the Numbers:

$1.4 billion

The cost of the 35 Express project, a 30-mile expansion of Interstate Highway 35E from LBJ Freeway to US Highway 380. The project is now substantially complete.


To receive Local Motion and public meeting info by email, click here.


View the Transportation Department calendar to learn about upcoming meetings and opportunities to get informed, involved.

For more information about Local Motion topics, contact Brian Wilson at 817-704-2511 or Visit for more information on the department.

Prepared in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation and the US 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

4/27/2018 CH %Trans

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