The Future of Texas Transportation

I think still it’s fair to say the next 20
years will see greater leaps in transportation slash mobility technology than we saw in the
prior 100 years. Texas is changing every day. Growing. Building new communities, businesses, and
even new types of transportation. TxDOT looks at the future of transportation
every day and we know from experience that the road to the future could go many different
directions. But that first mile is where we’re already
going full speed. Texas grows by 1,000 people every day – adding
more cars to our roadways. Every year, TxDOT asks TTI , the Texas Transportation
Institute, to do some analysis for us and identify the 100 most congested sections of
roadway in Texas and in Houston we’ve got almost half of those believe or not. That congestion adds up quickly, costing Texas
commuters more than 7 billion hours and 3 billion dollars in wasted fuel every year. With those concerns in mind, TxDOT launched
a new program to fight congestion directly – Texas Clear Lanes targeting sections from
the top 100 list in five major cities. Improvements to projects on the top 100 list
will also increase the efficiency of surrounding roadways which makes the entire infrastructure
work better. This creates an opportunity for TxDOT to make
a big difference on today’s roads. This highway commission has dedicated a large
portion of their discretionary spending, they get about 10 billion out of this 70 billion
dollar program to spend on strategic initiatives and needs across the state and they have committed
5 billion of that to focus on the Clear Lanes initiative. The areas targeted by Texas Clear Lanes represent
more than 65 percent of the Texas population. So as the population grows, so does the impact
of Texas Clear Lanes projects. A little further down the road, TxDOT has
a state-wide plan to predict the mobility needs of Texans over ten years: the Unified
Transportation Program. What do you want the department to look like,
to get to in a 10 year period of time, It’s gonna take this kind of money in preservation,
this kind of money in congestion mitigation, this kind of money in safety. This forecast has contributions from the state’s
Metropolitan Planning Organizations, or MPOs, as well as TxDOT’s districts and divisions. But with that being said we cannot build ourselves
out of congestion for the people of Texas. I think we know we are gonna have to give
some attention to multimodal solutions. It’s not a large part of our program today
but I think that with our planning partners, MPOs, we’re being more heavily dependent upon
them to work with us to try to come up with transportation solutions

that involve technology
enhancements that involve traffic management enhancements. Technology infusing into transportation
Traveling in the future will be faster, safer, and accessible for all. Roads, rails, skies, and seas will link seamlessly
to support business and commerce. “Oh it’s super exciting! We can enhance that in terms of safety and
efficiency through connected solutions through sharing of information about what’s going
on with other vehicles around you, and with pedestrians, around you, and bicycles, and
all those other things that are happening in that universes as you move through a mobility
situation. Many believe it’s going to be a combination
solution it will probably be the best solution over time.” Connected and autonomous vehicles even with
the current speed of innovation, roads aren’t going away any time soon. Even automated systems will require infrastructure
to operate. But what role will our highway system play,
and how will we prepare? Planning for the future of transportation
in a state the size of Texas is a massive undertaking, however, at TxDOT it’s what we
do every day. We collaborate with universities across the
state, to identify, research, and solve transportation issues. The Texas Transportation Institute is our
strong, research partner, in creating mobility solutions for all Texans. “I believe our future will be a whole lot
safer. And as you know, automated vehicles are coming
our way and very rapidly so we need to be prepared from that perspective as well as
how is that going to be impacting us, our infrastructure? How do we need to be prepared for that?” Connected vehicles, connected infrastructure,
connected people. Curiosity openness to new ideas being willing
to listen is where we shine. TxDOT has been using alternative fuels in
our fleet for the last twenty years. Now we’re looking at the possibility of an
entire fleet of electric vehicles. “So electric propulsion is exciting I think
is the advent of the future, but also fuel cells, and diesel technology, kind of decoupling
ourselves from a sole source of energy for mobility.” No matter what transportation looks like in
the future, our commitment to the people of Texas won’t change. Safety the safety of the system, the safety
of the traveler, will always be of utmost importance. But it sure is gonna be exciting. It’s gonna be a wild ride, hold on, buckle
up!

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