In the Press

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Freeway shutdown pain hits Arlington, where Highway 360 at Abram closes this weekend … and I-30 is next!

Nov 1, 18 • In the PressNo Comments

The main lanes of State Highway 360 will be closed in both directions at Abram Street in Arlington this weekend for bridge demolition.

From 7 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday, highway traffic will be diverted to frontage roads from south of Abram to north of Division Street. Abram will close at 360, and its traffic will be rerouted to Division and Mitchell streets.

The work is part of a $53 million project to add a fourth highway lane in each direction and rebuild exit and entrance ramps from Abram south to Kingswood Boulevard/Green Oaks Boulevard. The project started in June and is estimated for completion in 2020.

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another reason why we need to solve the “disconnect-er”

Oct 11, 18 • In the PressNo Comments

NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING: Southeast Connector – Reconstruct 1-20/1-820/US 287 Interchanges

Jun 27, 18 • In the Press, Progress, SETTP News1 Comment

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is proposing to reconstruct the 1-20, 1-820 and US 287 interchanges in southeast Tarrant County. The limits of proposed improvements include 1-20 from Forest Hill Drive to Park Springs Boulevard, 1-820 from 1-20 to Brentwood Stair Road and US 287 from Bishop Street to Sublett Road. Total length is approximately 16 miles. The proposed project is also referred to as the “Southeast Connector.” The purpose of the meeting is to present the recommended improvements and to receive public comments on the proposed project. The Public Meeting will be an open house format, with no formal presentation, held on:

Thursday, July 19, 2018
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Dunbar High School (Cafeteria)
5700 Ramey Avenue
Fort Worth, Texas 76112

Along 1-20 between 1-820 and US 287, the alternative analyses recommend reconstructing existing interchanges and adding general purpose lanes and collector-distributor road systems to separate traffic movements and eliminate weaving. Along 1-820 from 1-20 to US 287, 1-820 and US 287 run concurrently; the analyses recommend widening and reconstruction of the general purpose lanes to align travel lanes and reduce major weaving movements.
Throughout the project study limits, TxDOT is evaluating and recommending improvements promoting safety including reconstructing interchanges, widening or reconstructing general purpose lanes, modifying ramp locations to minimize weaving movements and eliminate left-hand exit ramps, reconstructing or providing additional frontage roads to incorporate shared use lanes that would accommodate vehicles and bicycles and adding sidewalks to accommodate pedestrians.

Maps and drawings reflecting the recommended alternative for operational improvements and other alternatives evaluated will be displayed at the Public Meeting. Information about the proposed project will also be available for public inspection at the TxDOT District Office, 2501 SW Loop 820, Fort Worth, TX 76133.

All interested persons are invited to attend this Public Meeting. Persons interested in attending the Public Meeting who have special communication and/or accommodation needs are encouraged to contact Tanya Fitzgerald at (817) 370-6610 at least five (5) work days prior to the Public Meeting. Requests for language interpreters or other special communication needs should also be made at least five (5) work days prior to the Public Meeting. TxDOT will make every reasonable effort to accommodate these needs.

Verbal and written comments relative to the alternatives may be presented at the meeting. Written comments may also be submitted on or before Friday, August 3, 2018, to Texas Department of Transportation, Attention: Curtis Loftis, P.E., Project Manager, 2501 SW Loop 820, Fort Worth, Texas 76133, to be included in the Public Meeting record. For additional information please contact Curtis Loftis, P.E. via phone (817) 370-6807 or e-mail:

The environmental review, consultation, and other actions required by applicable Federal environmental laws for this project are being, or have been, carried-out by TxDOT pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding dated December 16, 2014, and executed by FHWA and TxDOT.

10 States With the Fastest Commute Times

May 1, 18 • In the PressNo Comments

10. Arkansas
9. Idaho
8. Kansas
7. Iowa
6. Nebraska
5. Alaska
4. Montana
3. North Dakota
2. Wyoming
1. South Dakota

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Driverless Vehicles Hit the Road in Texas

Feb 21, 18 • In the PressNo Comments

If you think your car will be driving you anytime in the near future, think again.

Known as driverless or self-driving vehicles, autonomous vehicles are in the spotlight. But while the auto, tech and ride-share industries are driving the effort, the fact that automation levels vary means it will be a while before you’ll pass a truly driverless vehicle on your daily commute.

In Texas, the push toward autonomous vehicles is particularly strong, accelerated by circumstances that make it among the nation’s leaders as automation advances:

  • Texas’ population growth is the largest of any state, according to U.S. Census data released in January; four of the five fastest-growing cities in the country with populations of 50,000 or more are in Texas, Census estimates have found; and Texas Demographic Center projections through 2045 suggest the state’s population will grow by 40 percent, with three-quarters of the population concentrated in urban areas and border counties.
  • A new state law effective last September allows automakers and others to test automated vehicles on the state’s roads and highways without a driver inside.
  • The Texas (Automated Vehicle) AV Proving Ground Partnership is one of 10 pilots designated in 2017 by the U.S. Department of Transportation “to encourage testing and information sharing around automated vehicle technologies.”

“Our growth is a function of a good economy, affordable housing and a good transportation network. To sustain that, you’ve got to keep enhancing and improving all those areas,” says Christopher Poe of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, who also serves as point person for the state’s proving grounds. “We’ve got to keep it up.”

The Texas AV Proving Ground Partnership includes research institutions: Poe’s employer Texas A&M University’s Transportation Institutethe University of Texas—Austin and the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Other participants include urban test sites,the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and 32 public agencies. These pockets of innovation are in settings as diverse as projects for Houston’s HOV lanes and El Paso’s border and port. The common thread is testing emerging transportation technologies and accompanying data collection.

The DOT’s proving grounds designation didn’t include funding, so the projects at the 10 sites are on their own – at least for the time being.

“The Department is still reviewing its options on how best to proceed with the Automated Proving Grounds PILOT program,” a DOT spokesperson said via email.

The Texas partnership took that federal designation as a green light, making the state’s effort a full-speed ahead move that’s showing up on the roads, either in controlled settings such as test tracks or in specific areas, such as in Arlington, where a yearlong pilot launched in August dubbed “Milo” is getting some attention. Free transportation via autonomous vehicle is offered from parking lots in the entertainment district to Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys games and other special events. For $272,000, the city of Arlington leased two low-speed shuttles, each with a dozen seats and an operator who provides information and is a backup in case the shuttle has to go into manual mode. There is no steering wheel and the operator does not drive.

In the state’s capital city, a pilot scheduled to launch within the next month will allow vehicles to “talk” to each other or to the infrastructure as a way to provide increased and advanced visibility for pedestrians, says Karla Taylor, chief of staff for the Austin Transportation Department.

The eight-week pilot will use DSRC – Dedicated Short Range Communications – installed at different intersections on the same six-lane divided road with high pedestrian activity and on 10 buses serving that route.

“If a pedestrian goes to a button to cross at the crosswalk, that button will be linked to the DSRC equipment and send a message to the approaching Capital Metro bus that a pedestrian is about to cross in the crosswalk,” Taylor says. “The buses will have tablets that send the message to the driver.”

Safety is cited as the overriding reason for the massive financial as well as research investment in automated vehicles. Human drivers make mistakes: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s report on motor vehicle crashes causesblames drivers for 94 percent of the crashes, with recognition errors for 41 percent, decision errors for 33 percent and performance errors for 11 percent of the crashes.

Darran Anderson, TxDOT director of strategy and innovation, says while safety is always first, automation offers additional benefits.

“If you reduce the number of crashes, it will reduce congestion due to crashes,” he says. “But whether it will reduce the amount of vehicles, a lot of those questions have not yet reached a point anybody can answer. It may increase the number of vehicles, but they may fit more in the same width of highway and may have the same rate of flow.”

Automated vehicles provide the assurance of safety without human error, allowing lane widths to shrink and vehicles to travel closer together, he says.

Such efforts are underway with two-vehicle truck platoons that travel in tight formation at short following distances. A truck platooning demonstration at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute aims to increase safety, improve mobility and save on fuel costs and emissions. With platoons, the lead truck is manually driven, while steering, acceleration and braking of the second truck (in which a driver is present but not driving) is automatically controlled. The vehicles are linked and communicate wirelessly.

“When they’re aligned perfectly and they’re following at close distances in highway speeds, there are significant fuel and emissions savings,” says Mike Lukuc, who oversees such tests at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute in College Station. “At 55 miles per hour traveling 30 to 60 feet apart – you can follow at that distance very safety – you start to see a 4- to 5-percent reduction in fuel consumption and a reduction in the lead truck and an 8- to 10-percent reduction in the second vehicle,” he says.

The Institute’s platooning research will be part of a study commissioned by the Michigan-based American Center for Mobility, another of the 10 DOT-designated proving grounds. The study, announced earlier this month, will concentrate on transportation jobs of the future — including taxi drivers, professional truck drivers and delivery drivers — and how autonomous vehicles will affect them.

In Texas, the new state law is an open invite to automakers and others that testing self-driving cars on state roads and highways is just fine with Texas.

“What happened in other states is that cities began to regulate in this arena and create a patchwork of legislation which makes it very difficult to operate in those states,” State Sen. Kelly Hancock, of North Richland Hills, says of the measure he sponsored in last year’s legislative session. “We wanted industry to recognize that Texas was friendly to this type of research.”

However, Texas wasn’t a leader in passage of automated vehicle legislation. Nevada was the first state – in 2011 – to authorize autonomous vehicles. Since then, 20 states have passed similar laws, while governors in ArizonaDelawareMassachusettsWashington and Wisconsin have issued executive orders related to automated vehicles. Arizona and California, like Texas, are among the nation’s leaders for testing of various types of autonomous vehicles. This rapid growth across the country prompted the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization for state lawmakers, to create a database for autonomous vehicle legislation.

“Texas, in particular, is one of best environments to test automated vehicles,” says Scott Hall, of the Auto Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 12 automakers, including Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, Toyota and Volvo Car USA.

For any driverless vehicle, there’s a defined level of automation, which ranges from Level 0 (a human driver) to Level 5 (fully automated with no human driver). That’s why the term “self-driving” or “autonomous” can mean many different levels of autonomy and doesn’t explain what the vehicle can do on its own and whether a driver is needed as a backup.

“It’s sort of a brave new world out there,” says Hall, of the Auto Alliance. “Autonomous vehicles represent a paradigm shift in transportation.”


How DFW Traffic Compares to L.A

Feb 6, 18 • In the PressNo Comments

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has been ranked the 10th most congested city in the U.S., but that’s an improvement from 2016, an INRIX survey released Monday says.

The transportation analytics firm says Dallas-Fort Worth drivers spent an average of 54 hours sitting in traffic jams in 2017.

The report shows traffic is improving. In 2016, drivers spent 59.4 hours in DFW traffic.

That could be attributed to the new TEXpress Lanes on Interstate 35E from Denton to Dallas. The Dallas Horseshoe project where I-30 and I-35 meet opened last summer.

That cost of 2017 congestion equaled to $1,674 per driver, which includes the cost of time, wear and tear on the roads, fuel costs and the social cost of emissions, the report says.

How does all this compare with L.A.?

Drivers in the City of Angels spent 102 hours sitting in traffic congestion and cost $2,828 per driver. L.A. is the world’s most congested city, the report says.

Dallas-Fort Worth also improved its global rank. It’s the world’s 28th most congested city compared to being ranked 16 in 2016, the report says.

How traffic in Texas cities rank against all global cities:

Dallas – 28

Houston – 37

Austin – 72

San Antonio – 297

McAllen – 663

Top congested American cities:

Los Angeles

New York City

San Francisco


Miami, FL

Washington, D.C.


Chicago, IL

Seattle, WA

Dallas, Texas

Houston, Texas

Portland, OR

San Diego

Austin, Texas

Stamford, CT

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I20-287-820 frustration

Feb 2, 18 • In the PressNo Comments

If you fight traffic on I-20, 820 and U.S. 287 in southeast Tarrant County, read this

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Investigating the Mysteriously Feel-Good Texas Turnaround

Jan 29, 18 • In the PressNo Comments

The car radio is playing something loud and twangy. It’s late summer, so bugs are peppering your windshield like dollops of rain as you speed comfortably in the wide, smooth lanes. And then you realize you just missed your dang exit.

Relax, partner—you’re in Texas. Just take the next one, and stay to the left as the off ramp descends towards the intersection. Follow the signage that leads you into the U-turn lane—a curving bypass that traces the underpass’ embankment. Without stoplights, cross traffic, or stress, you about-face to the other side of the highway and head back to where you’re going.

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Elaine Chao: How The Trump Administration Is Promoting Self-Driving Cars, Drones

Jan 12, 18 • In the PressNo Comments

LAS VEGAS — U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao made an appearance at CES this week to show that the Trump administration wants to help promote innovation in self-driving cars and drones through working with the private sector and reducing regulations.

X “We know that there are so many outdated and duplicative regulations that really hamper the growth of innovation,” Chao told Investor’s Business Daily. “We want to have the public and relevant stakeholders tell us what they are so that we can begin to do something about them so that we can promote innovation.”

While at CES, Chao announced updates to the DOT’s drone pilot program as well as issued multiple official Requests for Comment and Information to “identify which regulations, parts of regulations or terminology need to be updated to allow for innovation to move forward.”

Chao also emphasized that the Trump administration does not believe in a “top-down approach,” but instead wants to work with the private sector “to ensure innovation flourishes.”


SH360 South Project – July 2017 Update