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transportation

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Trying to figure out the future transportation habits for millions of people in a metro area isn't easy; cities often play it safe and go with what's worked before. 

The North Central Texas Council of Governments adopted Mobility 2045, its $135 billion blueprint for the region's transportation needs, earlier this summer.

Over the past year, dockless electric scooters have descended on city sidewalks almost as if they fell from the sky. From Austin, Texas, to Denver to Cambridge, Mass., these compact two-wheelers are leading what researchers are calling the "micro-mobility revolution."

But their arrival has not been without controversy.

Courtesy of Drive.ai

Arlington has approved a contract with Drive.ai for a one-year pilot program to operate autonomous vehicles within the city's entertainment district.

The pilot begins Oct. 19 with three self-driving vans that will provide residents and visitors on-demand transportation around AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Park and nearby venues.

The U.S is on pace to record close to 40,000 roadway and highway deaths for the third consecutive year, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the National Safety Council. The silver lining in those dark numbers is that the number of people dying each year in traffic collisions nationwide appears to be leveling off after two years of sharp increases.

John Locher / AP

The future of transportation seems jam-packed with high-tech gizmos, like bullet trains, self-driving cars, flying taxis and Hyperloop.

And yet, the future in North Texas still belongs to cars, at least if you dig into "Mobility 2045," the long-term transportation roadmap for the area.

When Adam Stephens walked into his office in Milwaukee one morning in late June, he found messages complaining about the Birds. The deputy city attorney was not amused.

He went for a walk. "Within a couple of minutes, I found one parked on a sidewalk and was able to visually examine it and kind of figure out what it was," Stephens says.

Bird is the name of an electric scooter company. Unannounced, it dropped off somewhere between 70 and 100 rental scooters throughout Milwaukee, where it's illegal to ride motorized scooters in public.

Cooper Neil for The Texas Tribune

As the neighborhoods in and around downtown Dallas redeveloped in recent decades, they became hotbeds for millennials who, more than their parents did, rely on everything from walking and shared bikes to light-rail trains and ride-hailing apps to get around.

Courtsey of Virgin Hyperloop One

Local transportation officials are interested in hyperloop technology to shuttle travelers across North Texas.

The Regional Transportation Council, made up of dozens of elected and appointed officials, announced Wednesday that it will consider hyperloop as a potential option to connect Dallas, Arlington and Fort Worth.

The mode of transportation is designed to allow passenger pods to travel through a low-pressure tube at speeds up to 700 miles per hour. 

Allison V. Smith for KERA News

Dallas’ web of interstates and highways transformed the city in the 1960s, allowing people and families to prioritize cars and spread out.

But recently, the “commuter city” identity has been challenged.

Allison V. Smith for KERA News

Life hasn't changed much since we visited Jubilee Park three years ago. It's a neighborhood on the financial edge, in the shadow of Interstate 30 in Old East Dallas. Chris Crowley was born and raised there. He's got a better job now, but he's spending 24 hours a week commuting.

Courtesy of Drive.ai

One of the nation's first self-driving car services will be coming to North Texas next month. 

Hundreds Of Harassment, Discrimination Allegations Surface Against TxDOT

May 24, 2018
KXAN

A KXAN investigation has discovered more than 200 allegations of discrimination, harassment and retaliation against the Texas Department of Transportation in the past five years. Many were complaints from women and minorities who represent an undersized portion of TxDOT’s workforce, according to internal records.

From Texas Standard.

The City of Arlington has replaced its existing fleet of buses with vans operated by Via, an on-demand ridesharing service. Arlington is the first city in Texas to take this step, and it’s among the first cities in the country to try eliminating buses. Supporters of the idea say it is more cost-effective for the city and more efficient for riders. Critics wonder whether all of the city’s bus riders will continue to have access to public transit.

City of Arlington

Texas Transportation Commission member Victor Vandergriff plans to step down from the board that oversees the state’s transportation agency, according to a report from D Magazine. That would make the North Texas man the second transportation commissioner to decide to step down in recent days.

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

Dallas has a ways to go in providing more accessible public transportation to people across the city who need it most.

A new report commissioned by the city explores the state of mass transit in Dallas, specifically its affordability, coverage area, frequency and accessibility.

Rosa Say / Flickr

Voters chose to dissolve the school bus agency known as Dallas County Schools last month. The bus service will continue through the end of this school year while a committee oversees the dissolution of the agency.

In the meantime, the Dallas Independent School District and other districts that used the service are trying to figure out how they’re going to get kids to school next year.

From Texas Standard:

In an attempt to manage the growing congestion on Texas highways, and corresponding rates of frustration for drivers, the Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDOT, has been implementing what could be called  a market-driven approach to driving. Rather than spend more state dollars on highway-building, Texas has turned to the private sector, which has built toll roads where the cost to drivers fluctuates with traffic demand.

Austin is one step closer to being at the center of the world's first Hyperloop transportation system.

The technology — the brainchild of SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk — is envisioned as passenger pods traveling at speeds up to 700 miles per hour through a low-pressure tube. So far, only a short test track has been constructed.

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In North Texas, no place is booming like Plano. As sparkling new residential and retail hubs continue to sprout, companies like Toyota plan to bring in 15,000 new employees over the next year.

That’s a big business opportunity – and a big headache when it comes to moving all of those people around town.

Texas Poised To Spend $2.5 Billion On Urban Highway Projects

Mar 8, 2017
Brandon Formby / The Texas Tribune

Weeks after two state senators questioned how billions in voter-approved highway money could be clawed back and spent on other state needs, Texas transportation officials on Wednesday touted a litany of projects they plan to build with the funds. 

Courtesy of the Fort Worth Transit Authority

Construction on a $1 billion rail project is about to get underway in North Texas. TEX Rail will link Fort Worth with DFW International, giving Tarrant County a direct route to the airport. 

Kichigin / Shutterstock

Five stories that have North Texas talking: More lanes might not solve the state’s transportation issue; some Texas police officers accept credit cards to pay fines; Facebook keeps growing in Fort Worth; and more.   

TxDOT Planning $1.3 Billion To Reduce Traffic In Largest Cities

Jan 28, 2016
Shelby Knowles / Texas Tribune

The Texas Transportation Commission unveiled a $1.3 billion plan Wednesday targeted at reducing traffic congestion on some of the most clogged Texas roadways.

Transportation Security Administration

A record number of airline passengers were caught last year trying to take guns on planes, and most of the weapons were loaded, federal officials say.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Dallas Area Rapid Transit is running the country’s first hybrid streetcar without the signature overhead cable from start-to-finish. Batteries power the car over the Houston Viaduct, where the bridge’s historic designation prohibits visible electric cables. Other cities want what Dallas has.

I-35 In Austin Is The Most Congested Roadway In Texas

Nov 10, 2015
Shelby Knowles / Texas Tribune

Austin drivers who complain about Interstate Highway 35 have been validated. A new report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute named the stretch of I-35 between U.S. 290 N and SH 71 as the most congested roadway in Texas.

jbparrott / Flickr

A new report predicts a future of extreme weather wreaking havoc on the roads and runways in North Texas. 

Streetcars return to Oak Cliff late Monday morning – a sound not heard in half a century. The new Oak Cliff streetcar line is making its inaugural run -- and it’s not your grandmother’s trolley.

Abbott Plans To Add $4 Billion To Texas Road Funding

Dec 9, 2014
Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

Gov.-elect Greg Abbott has set himself a tall order for his first legislative session: nearly closing the Texas Department of Transportation’s $5 billion annual budget shortfall.

Transportation Security Administration

Five stories that have North Texas talking: lots of guns are confiscated at Dallas-Fort Worth International; former President George W. Bush promotes his new book; Glenn Back has been in a lot of pain; and more.

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