Progress North Texas 2019



Message from the Chair
Transportation in Our Growing Region
Building Sustainable Communities
Helping Our Communities Breathe Easier
Optimizing Our Transportation Resources
Improving Efficiency with Technology
Making Connections Through Transit
Joining People Through Aviation
Moving Goods
Keeping Our Neighbors Safe
Public Involvement
Federal Performance Measures

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Message from the Chair



Dear Neighbors,
Thank you for reading Progress North Texas 2019. This year’s theme is Neighborhoods: The Building Blocks of Regional Transportation. As always, our goal with this annual state of the region report is to use performance measures to provide you an update on the regional transportation system.

Portrait photo of Gary Fickes, chair of the regional transportation council

No matter how you choose to move around, there are increasing options for you. Whether it is by car, train, bicycle or walking, or a combination of any of these, the North Central Texas Council of Governments and its partners are working to accommodate you. It is important to look at transportation as a system compose of different modes, all of which can work together to get you from where you live to where you work, play or go to school.

As Chair of the Regional Transportation Council, I recognize the importance of connecting people to one another. It starts at the neighborhood level, and we are developing numerous options to facilitate community. At a neighborhood level, enhancements to our bicycle-pedestrian network are among the most obvious. Passenger rail is also a crucial improvement, and we saw the completion of TEXRail from downtown Fort Worth to DFW Airport. Planning for the Cotton Belt line to Plano and Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s second downtown line, or D2, also are underway. Added to the many roadway improvements we see in the region, these enhancements form a system that works together to serve one of the most dynamic regions in the nation.

As transportation planners and policy makers, we understand the power of neighborhoods and how they can help shape a transportation system. Housing, retail, restaurants and other businesses all make neighborhoods unique. But the people are what really give them their character. We can develop policies and programs to help them grow, but the people who live, work, play and go to school in those neighborhoods are what make them truly special. As planners and policymakers, it’s our job to develop transportation options that help these neighborhoods thrive and connect them to one another.
I invite you to become part of the transportation planning process so that you can impact our system. No matter how you communicate, your feedback is invaluable as we continue planning transportation improvements.
Gary Fickes
Commissioner, Tarrant County
Chair, Regional Transportation Council   


Transportation in Our Growing Region


Dallas-Fort Worth continues to experience substantial change in terms of population and business growth. Population grew by 2.1%,  or 150,000, and employment by 3.2% last year. The Dallas-Fort Worth area’s population stands at 7.5 million and is expected to exceed 11 million by 2045. The map below shows percentage growth by census tract from 2016-2017. The data indicates significant growth in the outer suburban counties, such as western Collin County and eastern Denton County. An area in northern Tarrant County that includes a portion of the AllianceTexas development also grew by more 10%. Additionally, there were large areas both inside and outside the urban core that expanded substantially.

The Census figures recorded population as of July 1, 2017. Collin County added approximately 29,000 residents from 2016-2017 for a total population of 968,018. On a percentage basis, only Denton County (3.5%) grew faster than Collin County’s 3.1 percent expansion.
NCTCOG is not only planning for short-term needs of the area; planners are examining what the region will look like in 2045. According to a demographics forecast, the fastest-growing counties by percentage will be Rockwall (82) and Kaufman (81). Collin County is expected to grow 70% to 1.69 million by 2045. Denton County could grow 59%, with a 2045 population of 1.35 million.

With business growth in areas such as Legacy West in Plano and AllianceTexas, the northern suburbs will continue to attract new residents far into the future. And as they come, transportation needs will follow.  These areas are not the most populous in the region but are growing at a faster rate than the more established parts of Dallas-Fort Worth.

Map showing the percentage growth by census tract from 2016-2017. Areas of sustained growth indicating as Northern Tarrant, Collin, Alliance, Denton county and more outlying areas.

This is a legend to the growth census map above.
Population growth continues to surge in Collin and Denton counties, as well as the areas within the urban core. Projections indicate the suburban counties will continue to expand rapidly through 2045. 

Traffic Counts

Dallas-Fort Worth has long been auto-dependent, and that’s not changing. In fact, data shows the steady increase in traffic counts at permanent stations across the region continued in 2018, although the 0.37% growth was smaller than in recent years.

This is a table of the average daily vehicle traffic in north texas, with a steady growth of 0.37%25 moving past 2018.
Average daily traffic at permanent stations continued to
increase in 2018, climbing 0.37%.

The number of registered vehicles in the region is also on the rise, having increased 2.77% from 2016 to 2017. However, there are different options that are helping make Dallas-Fort Worth a region of choice. For example, Trinity Metro completed work on the 27-mile TEXRail commuter rail line in 2018. The rail line stretches from downtown Fort Worth to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, providing rail access to residents of Tarrant County cities that had waited years for direct access to the airport via passenger train.

Additionally, two areas of the region – Frisco and Arlington – were introduced to automated vehicles, with separate deployments by Both helped introduce the region to the idea of vehicle automation while providing important first- and last-mile connections for people who want to shop or dine during the day. NCTCOG is also studying the development of modern people-mover systems and high-speed rail or hyperloop technology. People movers could connect residents to jobs and shopping in office parks, hospitals and shopping districts, serving as first-and last-mile options. Hyperloop technology is being studied as another transportation choice to connect residents of the region to the planned high-speed rail project between Dallas and Houston, as well as from Fort Worth to Laredo.

Congestion improving

Traffic is a fact of life throughout the region. But the picture is getting brighter. Dallas-Fort Worth is 21st in congestion, according to the 2018 Inrix Global Scorecard. The region scored better than other cities of comparable size, including Atlanta (11th), Houston (13th) and Denver (19th). Drivers lost an estimated 76 hours due to congestion, better than the national average of 97.

Rank Region Lost Hours Cost Per Driver
11 Atlanta 108 $1,505
13 Houston 98 $1,365
19 Denver 83 $1,152
21 Dallas-Fort Worth 76 $1,065

The average person in Dallas-Fort Worth spends 47 minutes per day traveling, according to NCTCOG data. By 2045, travel time is expected to grow to 54 minutes per day.
Although the region’s roadways will always be important, continued investment in transit options, along with the promise of technology, can help keep neighborhoods and business districts connected.  

Building Sustainable Communities

NCTCOG’s Sustainable Development Program is planning and funding improvements to communities that offer expanded options to walk, bike and take transit. Activities include planning for transit-oriented neighborhoods, community-oriented schools and trails to increase travel choices.

Transit-Oriented Neighborhoods

Transit-oriented developments encourage pedestrian activity through a mix of higher-density land uses within a half-mile of transit. In 2018, the RTC invested in transit-oriented neighborhoods with more than $70 million in grants and financing.  One of these grants will fund improvements to the Old Town Lewisville station area where the City of Lewisville and Denton County Transportation Authority are partnering to expand the walkable, transit-oriented Old Town neighborhood. NCTCOG’s investment will help Lewisville create bicycle-pedestrian friendly Complete Streets in the station area and support a new intermodal transit center with retail and office space.

Transit-Oriented Development in Fort Worth

The RTC allocated $11.4 million in federal funds to Trinity Metro for transit improvements in exchange for appropriate local funds that will be transferred from Trinity Metro to Fort Worth Housing Solutions. These funds supported building a mixed-income development on the current T&P Station park-and-ride lot, creating affordable housing with greater access to public transit. It builds on previous investment in the Near Southside, such as  the NCTCOG Sustainable Development Funding Program project of $3.75 million to improve South Main Street into a walkable complete street connecting the neighborhood. For more information, visit

Community-Oriented Schools

In 2018 alone, approximately 20 new public schools opened in the region. These new schools are not only responding to growth. They also have a significant impact on the development of communities and transportation.
For example, when a school is built on the edge of a neighborhood or along a busy road, students are more likely to be driven to school than walk or bicycle due to traffic and safety concerns.

NCTCOG is working with school districts to help them make decisions that promote bicycling and walking to school. It provides school districts and cities with steps to plan for safety and accessibility. For school-siting resources and to learn more about how NCTCOG is helping encourage active transportation around the region, visit


Regional Trails

Access to safe bicycling facilities has been identified as leading to greater active transportation in the region. Providing safe crossings of roadways and intersections and separating facilities from vehicles are among the most important enhancements that could be made, according to a NCTCOG survey, available at

NCTCOG and its transportation partners are increasing options for bicycling and walking, including spending millions to create signature trails that connect neighborhoods to destinations.
Regional Veloweb trails are linear corridors that provide long-distance walking and bicycling connections to transit stations, employment and schools and other major activity venues with high volumes of users. These trails serve as the major connectors across cities and counties and are supplemented by other community trails that connect neighborhoods with other local destinations. For more information, visit

In 2018, the RTC approved more than $9 million in federal transportation funds toward the Fort Worth-to-Dallas Regional Veloweb Trail. A continuous 53-mile trail alignment will result, connecting Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Irving and Dallas. The  trail alignment is anticipated to be complete by 2023. In addition to connecting with multiple rail stations, trail users will be able to access several hundred miles of connecting trails in the five cities. For more information, visit

The RTC recognized, from left, mayors Mike Rawlings, Dallas; Jeff Williams, Arlington; Betsey Price, Fort Worth; Ron Jensen, Grand Prairie; and Rick Stopfer, Irving; for their efforts to fund the Fort Worth to Dallas Regional Veloweb.

The RTC recognized, from left, mayors Mike Rawlings, Dallas;
Jeff Williams, Arlington; Betsey Price, Fort Worth; Ron Jensen,
Grand Prairie; and Rick Stopfer, Irving; for their efforts to fund
the Fort Worth to Dallas Regional Veloweb. 

Additionally, the RTC, Dallas County and several cities committed nearly $29 million for the engineering design of more than half the 26-mile Cotton Belt Trail. The Cotton Belt commuter rail and the parallel regional trail will extend through seven cities (Grapevine, Coppell, Carrollton, Addison, Dallas, Richardson and Plano) within three counties (Tarrant, Dallas, and Collin), from DFW Airport to Plano. This regional trail will ultimately connect with the existing Cotton Belt Trail in Grapevine that currently extends westward through several cities in Tarrant County. The portion of the trail east of DFW Airport will be designed and built concurrently with the Cotton Belt commuter rail project, which is anticipated to be complete and open in late 2022. For more information, visit

Community Trails

There are many community trails under development around the region. They include the following: examples: The RTC awarded funding to the City of Arlington to install two bridges that will extend the popular River Legacy Trail by another half-mile to the east into Fort Worth. The RTC has also awarded over $2 million to extend the River Legacy Trail to neighborhoods and developments along Trinity Boulevard. Included are connections to the new American Airlines headquarters and the CentrePort/DFW Airport TRE rail station.
The City of Dallas, in cooperation with Dallas County and the RTC, is extending the Northaven Trail in Dallas. When complete, the trail will span eight miles from the White Rock Creek Trail to Denton Drive, providing connections to neighborhoods in the area. The Trail is slated to be complete by mid-summer 2019. The Northaven Trail will include a bridge over US 75 highway which will provide the connection to the White Rock Creek trail and is expected to be completed in 2022.


Helping Our Communities Breathe Easier

Ensuring health is not negatively impacted by transportation is an important part of the planning process in Dallas-Fort Worth. Ten counties are in nonattainment of the federal government’s ozone standards, and the region continues to work toward attainment. 

North Texas counties have been in nonattainment for ozone since 1991 and have engaged in efforts to reduce emission levels, protect health and comply with federal air quality requirements. These efforts have reduced ozone concentration levels from 102 parts per billion (ppb) in 1998 to 76 ppb in 2018.
Unlike many pollutants, ground-level ozone is not produced directly by a single emission source. It does not come directly out of a vehicle tailpipe, or from a smoke stack. Instead, it is the result of a reaction of other pollutants – oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) – that mix in the presence of sunlight and heat.

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency reduced the ozone standard from 75 ppb to 70 ppb; the ozone-monitoring season has been extended by an additional month. Changes have made reaching ozone attainment more challenging, but as standards become stricter, ozone readings continue to improve. In April 2018, the EPA released nonattainment classifications under the 2015 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards and classified our region as marginal. The deadline to reach the new 70 ppb attainment goal is August 2021. The region also faces a similar deadline to meet the 2008 standard of 75 ppb.

Ozone Progress

Air quality is a significant focus of transportation planning in North Texas because 10 counties are in nonattainment for ozone pollution.
2018 Ozone graphic

An Important Focus

In 2018, mobile sources, such as cars and trucks, aircraft, locomotives and construction equipment accounted for a significant percentage of NOx emissions in North Texas. The automobile is the primary source of air pollution in the country, but the efficiency of engines continues to improve. As the region’s population grows, so too do the number of vehicles; thus, focusing on mobile-source air quality efforts is critical to attainment.
Over half of the on-road NOx emissions were a product of light- and medium-duty vehicles. Most consumer driven vehicles fall into these categories. In 2018, light-duty vehicles (cars and small trucks) accounted for 40 percent of on-road NOx emissions. NCTCOG and the RTC focus on actions that reduce NOx and VOC to cut harmful ozone.


Electric Vehicles Growth

Electric vehicles provide numerous advantages to neighborhoods, including quieter running vehicles and safe and fun options to drive. EVs can range from truly zero-emission vehicles to low-emission plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which run on a combination of electricity and gasoline engines. EVs in North Texas have grown from approximately 240 in 2011 to approximately 7,000, according to data compiled by the Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition. In 2018, the number of EVs in the region increased by 55%.

Entities across North Texas have worked to build EV charging stations to allow EVs to get around without fear of “running out” of battery power. By the end of 2018, there were approximately 320 EV charging stations in North Texas. For access to the AFDC Station Locator and other EV information, visit

Photo of small red electric vehicle at a charging station

The number of EV charging stations increased to 320 in 2018.

Electric Vehicles Infrastructure Planning

It is important to coordinate planning efforts to meet current and future demand for charging infrastructure. NCTCOG is working with cities to close regional gaps and improve mobility for EV motorists in the region and beyond.

Volkswagen Settlement

As part of a federal court settlement, Volkswagen will pay $2 billion to promote zero-emission vehicle technology through its subsidiary, Electrify America, and $2.7 billion to the Environmental Mitigation Trust Distributed to states to implement new emissions-reducing projects over the next 10 years. Electrify America will install faster charging stations across the US, including along Texas highways.

Environmental Mitigation Trust funds will be administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality according to the final Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for Texas, published on November 16, 2018.  Under this plan, TCEQ will distribute approximately $31 million for statewide zero-emission vehicle charging infrastructure and about $169.5 million for eligible mitigation actions. Dallas-Fort Worth will receive approximately $33.4 million.

Moving Forward

Cooperation will continue to be necessary for the region to attain ozone standards. AS more people move to North Texas, air quality efforts will remain focused on reducing the negative impacts that come with prolonged exposure to ozone

Air Qulity Initiatives

NCTCOG administers many air quality programs and initiatives to support emissions reductions across North Texas. Programs predominantly focus on light- and heavy-duty vehicles and equipment as they represent the majority of ozone forming emissions in the region.

DFW Clean Cities Coalition 

The Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition works to advance energy security, protect environmental and public health, and stimulate economic development by promoting practices and decisions that improve air quality and increase efficiency in the transportation sector. Its primary focus is on the transportation sector, collaborating with public and private vehicle fleets to increase use of alternative fuel vehicles, reduce idling and implement other fuel-saving practices. In 2017, 23 million gallons of petroleum were reduced across 32 surveyed fleets using nearly 7,000 vehicles. These fleets also reduced NOx by 390 tons.

Emissions Reduction Strategies

Engine off North Texas encourages people the public, truck drivers and local governments to reduce their idling. Spread awareness of EONT by learning more at

With grants from funding programs, such as the Clean Fleets North Texas program, fleets can replace older, heavy-duty diesel vehicles with newer, less-polluting vehicles. Therefore, vehicles that need to idle, such as fire trucks, garbage trucks and school buses, can do so with minimum impacts. 

Car Care Clinics

Car Care Clinics bring vehicle maintenance awareness to drivers in North Texas. Owners take their vehicles to partnering repair facilities to receive a diagnostic scan by a certified technician at no charge. Clinics are held for one month during the ozone season. Promotion and marketing of the event is a collaborative effort with repair facilities and NCTCOG, with targeted advertising to areas with high vehicle emissions inspection failure rates.

Regional Smoking Vehicle Program

Since 2007, the Regional Smoking Vehicle Program has allowed North Texans to help improve air quality by anonymously reporting vehicles emitting visible tailpipe smoke. Reporting can be completed online or by phone. Education material and information on how to report a smoking vehicle is available on request.

Optimizing Our Transportation Resources

Through a combination of large-scale improvements and lower-cost strategies, transportation planners are working to meet the needs of the growing region. In June, the Regional Transportation Council approved Mobility 2045, the Metropolitan Transportation Plan for the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The plan outlines $136.4 billion in spending, including increased highway capacity, infrastructure maintenance, expanded passenger rail, bus, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and technological enhancements to the existing transportation system.

Mobility 2045 reflects the pressures on transportation in North Texas. Demographic forecasts indicate the population will climb from 7.5 million today to approximately 11.2 million people by 2045. In light of these forecasts and transportation funding shortfalls, planners first sought to maximize the existing system through management and operations improvements such as traffic signal retiming. Expansion of bicycle and pedestrian facilities and programs that encourage commuters to avoid driving to work alone are also a focus. Then, planners considered ways to strategically invest in the region’s infrastructure by adding transit and highway capacity.
One additional way to add capacity to the roadway system is through the development of TEXpress Lanes. These innovative high-occupancy vehicle lanes give drivers to pay a toll for a more reliable commute. They have been built adjacent to non-tolled, general-purpose lanes in many of the region’s busiest corridors, including IH 35W in Fort Worth. From 2014-2018, 251 lane miles have been added. By 2028, an additional 35 lane miles are expected to open. Tax-supported lanes have also been improved in these corridors.
Since financial realities make it difficult to construct all the large-scale projects the region needs, other options to optimize the regional transportation system must be considered. Projects identified as asset optimization allow congestion to be mitigated within the existing right-of-way with lower-cost operational improvements and capital improvement strategies. These are more cost-effective and quicker to implement than large-scale capacity expansion projects. These short-term projects have proven to be effective in removing bottlenecks and promoting transportation system efficiency and reliability.

This is a map of 2018 DFW road and rail improvements.
The region added approximately 28 centerline miles of additional freeway/
tollway capacity and 27 miles of rail in 2018.

Mobility 2045 identifies 22 roadway corridors where $1.63 billion of Asset Optimization strategies will be considered. In 2018, Asset Optimization activities were conducted in the following corridors:

  • IH 20 in Dallas and Tarrant county
  • IH 20/IH 30 in Parker and Tarrant counties
  • IH 30 in Rockwall and Hunt counties
  • IH 35E in Ellis County
  • IH 820 West in Tarrant County
  • US 380 in Collin and Denton counties and US 75 in Collin and Dallas counties. 

Additional corridors will be considered for Asset Optimization strategies in the next update to the Congestion Management Process (CMP) in 2019. Required for regions with populations of more than 200,000, the CMP consists of lower-cost strategies to improve the reliability of the transportation system. 
In the future, Dallas-Fort Worth’s transportation system will be assisted by the federal performance measures it must follow to measure system performance, pavement and bridge condition, freight movement and air quality. The RTC has adopted targets for each of these areas, and data will be available in coming years to help planes improve regional mobility. More information on these targets is available on pages 26-29.

Image of the asset optimization program with other processes and plans outlined. For more information please contact Brian Wilson at 817-704-2511
This graphic contains examples of asset optimization improvements.
These enhancements are often less costly than major construction

Improving Efficiency with Technology

Through its Automated Vehicle Program, NCTCOG is exploring a series of technology options that could improve mobility in communities across the region. NCTCOG is assisting with innovative solutions to the region’s complex transportation challenges. And it is making funding available to help improve connectivity in the region.

Automated Vehicle 2.0

The RTC approved a $31.5 million funding package to equip cities and other public entities with the resources to partner effectively with automated vehicle developers.

The funding program consists of three elements: (a) assistance for public entities planning ahead for the deployment of AVs in their communities; (b) funding to help public entities cover infrastructure, equipment, safety, public education and other costs associated with AV deployments; and (c) funding for strategic AV deployments addressing use cases/communities that have not attracted AV developer interest.

AV 2.0 will enable cities and other public entities in DFW to be effective partners with AV developers.
Frisco unveiled a partnership with to launch Texas’ first on-demand, self-driving taxi service on public streets. Through coordination with the Frisco Transportation Management Association, offered rides to up to 10,000 people in self-driving vehicles within an area containing retail, entertainment and office space. This program was believed to mark the first time in Texas members of the public had access to an on-demand self-driving car service on public roads.

Later in the year, Arlington reached an agreement with to test the self-driving vehicles in the city’s Entertainment District. Like Frisco, Arlington is a leader in the Waze Connected Citizens program and makes its traffic signal data feed accessible to transportation technology companies.

Image of a orange car, a self driving vehicle photo

Two cities reached agreements in 2018 with, an automated vehicle company,
to test its vans on city streets.

Sidewalk Delivery Vehicles

Delivery robots are coming. The Dallas City Council recently recommended establishing guidelines and a pilot program for robotic street delivery vehicles. Arlington will also host a robotic sidewalk delivery pilot. Companies are developing vehicles that will improve the efficiency of last-mile good deliveries. This could reduce emissions and improve air quality in the region while improving package delivery.
While automated vehicles are on the streets now, they are not the only futuristic form of transportation receiving attention by North Texas policymakers.

The RTC committed in July to explore hyperloop technology for two major transportation initiatives. One is a high-speed corridor connecting Dallas, Arlington and Fort Worth. The other runs from Fort Worth to Laredo. The decision was made after a delegation from the RTC visited Virgin Hyperloop One’s full-scale test track in the Nevada desert for a first-hand look at the next-generation technology, which could get passengers from Dallas to Fort Worth in six minutes.

The region will consider hyperloop and high-speed rail for these corridors. Texas Central Partners is involved in a project that would introduce HSR to Texas, along the Dallas-to-Houston corridor. Dallas-Fort Worth, which was part of the Texas Triangle project named a finalist in the Virgin Hyperloop One Global Challenge, could attract a hyperloop certification track, which may ultimately become part of a permanent hyperloop corridor.

This is an image of representatives from NCTCOG and the RTC tour of the Virgin Hyperloop One facilities in Nevada in 2018.
Virgin Hyperloop One photo

Representatives from NCTCOG and the RTC toured the Virgin Hyperloop
One facilities in Nevada in 2018. The RTC has embraced hyperloop
technology as a potential way of connecting people in the region and beyond.



The 511DFW Traveler Information System recently underwent enhancements to make it more user-friendly and to incorporate more data.

511 DFW logo

TxDOT, several local agencies and the three major transit agencies provide local data on roadway closures, construction and other traffic and transit information. The 511DFW system continues to provide travel speeds and times for major roadways. Crowd-sourced incident information from Waze is provided through 511DFW as part of the upgrade.

It also includes improvements to the 511DFW website, Since the initial 511DFW was reintroduced to the public in 2018, Mobile app downloads for Android and iPhone devices have increased by over 100%. The app is available for free on Apple and Android devices. A Spanish language version is also available.

Data Sharing Grant Programs 

NCTCOG launched a second round in early 2018.  There are two grant programs dedicated to improving the connectivity and efficiency of local roadway jurisdictions.  The first, 511DFW/Waze Data Sharing Program, assists traffic engineers in connecting their traffic feeds to 511DFW through the Waze Connected Citizens Program.

The second grant, Traffic Signal Data Sharing, assists traffic engineers interested in increasing the number of connected traffic signals within their cities.  With both programs, as public entities develop a bank of data through the tools gained by these grants, participants will have the means to innovate in partnership with transportation-related technology providers. 

Traffic Signal Data Sharing Program

Recipient Amount
City of Plano $22,000
City of Frisco $22,000
City of Lewisville $21,000
City of Arlington $20,000
City of Allen $20,000
City of McKinney $20,000
Total 125,000

Making Connections Through Transit

Transit options expanded dramatically in 2018, with the completion of Trinity Metro’s TEXRail line. Dallas Area Rapid Transit has also committed to develop the Cotton Belt and a second downtown line. TEXRail opens passenger rail to more western suburbs and provides new opportunities for transit-oriented neighborhoods. The Cotton Belt will do the same in the east.

Image of the Trinity Metro
Trinity Metro photo
TEXRail now provides commuter rail service
between Fort Worth and DFW Airport.

Trinity Metro, DART and the Denton County Transportation Authority are the major providers of public transportation in the region. The three combined for more than 71.2 million passenger trips in fiscal year 2018. But in a metropolitan area as large as Dallas-Fort Worth, all transit partners – large and small – play a role in helping people get where they need to go. In the 16-county North Texas region, 18 transportation providers operate service. The ridership chart on the next page provides an idea of the scale of service.

FY2018 Passenger trips for smaller providers
Transportation Provider Passenger Trips in FY 2018
City/County Transportation 32,024
Community Transportation Services 54,323
Public Transit Services 69,704
Span 59,562
STAR Transit 201,144
Total 416,757

Mobility management helps people understand and manage their transportation options. Access North Texas is a plan that identifies the transportation needs of older adults, individuals with disabilities, individuals with lower incomes, and others with transportation challenges. To implement a regional mobility management program to improve the coordination of transportation and medical services, NCTCOG applied for the Federal Transit Administration’s Access and Mobility Partnership Grant opportunity. FTA is scheduled to make a funding announcement in 2019.

2018 Regional Vanpool Program Performance Update

The Regional Vanpool Program continues to play a vital role in reducing congestion, improving air quality and helping the riders experience a less stressful work commute. The Regional Vanpool Program is operated by DART, Trinity Metro and DCTA. The table below provides a summary of the 2018 vanpool data for each transit agency involved in the Regional Vanpool Program.

Regional Vanpool Program DART Trinity Metro DCTA Combined
Total Number of Vans (at year end) 176 80 30 286
Average Number of Participants per month 1,224 568 298 20,90
Total Van Miles Traveled (Annual) 2,965,075 1,897,418 688,593 5,551,086
Total Vehicle Miles of Travel Reduced (Annual) 18,041,395 10,578,369 5,962,320 34,582,084
Total Vehicle Trips Removed (Annual) 535,526 245,776 137,922 919,224
NOx Emissions Reduced (pounds) 10,729 6,291 3,546 20,566
VOC Emissions Reduced (pounds) 3,576 2,097 1,182 6,855

Try Parking It is an additional mobility management tool for commuters to find carpool and vanpool options whether they don’t have a personal vehicle or prefer not to drive themselves. Try Parking It also enables employers to incentivize alternative commutes (vanpool, carpool, biking to work, etc.) for their employees.
To participate in the program, residents can log on to and start entering their alternatives to driving alone.
The NCTCOG Travel Demand Management Program hosted the first regional Try Parking It Employee Transportation Champion Award Luncheon in June 2018 and presented the 2018 Try Parking It Employee Transportation Champion (ETC) of the Year Awards to individuals in the Public Sector, Private Sector, and Education Sector. The award recognizes individuals that best demonstrate a commitment to promoting and advancing commuter transportation options at their worksite in North Central Texas.  The 2018 ETC of the Year winners were:

  • Sandy Bauman, University of North Texas Health Science Center (Education)
  • Kendra Beseler and Ty Munger, Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. (Private)
  • Kevin Overton and Brittany Hailey, City of Dallas (Public)


New Transit Services

Several new transportation services debuted in 2018.

  1. DART introduced its new GoLink service. Rides can be scheduled via DART’s GoPass app or by calling DART directly. The benefit of DART’s GoLink service is the ability to extend transit options and connections to riders in nonmember cities.
  2. A partnership between Hillwood Properties, DCTA and Trinity Metrio created a first-mile/last-mile connection to major employers in the Alliance area. The service, called Alliance Link, began in 2018 as a pilot project initially funded by Toyota to assist employees with job access.
  3. STAR Transit’s new service in DeSoto provides access to jobs and transit in the area.
  4. Due to additional funding, Span now provides public transportation to Flower Mound, Little Elm, The Colony, Corinth, Lake Dallas, Hickory Creek, and Shady Shores.

Federal law requires NCTCOG to set regional targets for transit asset management to ensure vehicles, rail lines and other capital assets are in a state of good repair and able to meet the needs of the riding public. More information on these performance measures is available on page 29.


FY2018 Passenger trips for smaller providers

Transportation Provider Passenger Trips in FY 2018
City/County Transportation 32,024
Community Transportation Services 54,323
Public Transit Services 69,704
Span 59,562
STAR Transit 201,144
Total 416,757


Joining People Through Aviation


Aviation continues to greatly contribute to the North Central Texas Region’s economic landscape. Dallas-Fort Worth is home to 33 public-use facilities. Commercial aviation provides significant opportunities in North Texas, while helping to drive economic activity. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field both experienced growth in the number of flights and passengers served in 2018. Daily flights at DFW Airport, the nation’s fourth-busiest airport, increased 1.5%, while Love Field saw 2% more flights. Both airports’ passenger loads grew 3% in 2018.
Among the region’s diverse communities, other airports are called on to move people and goods. Whether the purpose is business, leisure, training or emergency response, general aviation airports link communities. Flights may commence at a neighborhood airport before transitioning or concluding at a regional airport or facility outside Texas.
General Aviation itself has a significant impact on the region’s economy. An estimated 17 jobs are supported from every $1 million spent by general aviation visitors, providing a total economic output of $325.8 billion for the State, according to TxDOT. General aviation’s impact statewide grew 58% between 2011 and 2018. Commercial aviation is also growing.
To keep pace with the growth in activity, airports must be well-maintained. In fiscal year 2018, the region’s airports received more than $24 million to assist with runway rehabilitation, acquisition of land, ground equipment and emergency response vehicles, as well as expansion of taxiways, and various studies.

Addison Airport $805,000
Fort Worth Meacham Airport $8,665,529
Fort Worth Spinks $5,110,632
Granbury Regional Airport $8,816,666
Grand Prairie Municipal $195,000
Majors Field $299,700
Mid-Way Regional  $80,000
Mineral Wells Airport $166,667
Total $24,139,194


2018 was another strong year in the aviation industry, with DFW Airport serving a record number of travelers. But there is more to aviation than just moving people. Air cargo is also a growing and impactful business in North Texas.


Air Cargo chart


Daily Flights

DFW Airport 1,828
Love Field 633

DFW Airport and Love Field both experienced increases in daily flights in 2018. Together, the airports have a capacity of more than 5,100 flights.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems in North Texas

As technology evolves, unmanned aircraft systems are becoming more widespread. There were approximately 22,000 UAS registered in North Texas by 2018. As UAS become more commonplace, North Texas and other regions must make sure they are operated safely. The UAS Safety & Integration Task Force was assembled by NCTCOG to serve as an information “clearinghouse” for academia, public- and private-sector entities and the general public. To effectively address integration issues and carry out solutions, the task force has formed working groups focused on education and public awareness, legislation, training and integration.
UAS Registered in North Texas
Recreational – approximately 17,000
Commercial – approximately 5,000



Moving Goods


The Dallas-Fort Worth area is undergoing improvements that will help move freight to customers whether they are down the street or around the world.



To facilitate goods movement in the region, NCTCOG partnered with the City of Haslet and the Texas Department of Transportation to secure a $20 million grant award from the Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) program for the AllianceTexas/Haslet Accessibility Improvement Project. 
This project is composed of three components:
(1) Construction of Haslet Parkway as a new four-lane divided thoroughfare from IH 35 W to FM 156 and Avondale-Haslet Road
(2) Extension of Intermodal Parkway as a four-lane divided thoroughfare from its current terminus south to the new Haslet Parkway. 

(3) Widening of Avondale-Haslet Road to a four-lane divided thoroughfare from FM 156 to the Haslet city limits.
In addition to filling in a critical east-west thoroughfare network gap between two major north-south highways (IH 35W and US 287), it will support continued growth in the City of Haslet and nearby communities. It will also provide greater accessibility to the AllianceTexas/Hillwood master-planned, mixed-use development, the Fort Worth Alliance Airport (a regional hub for FedEx Express and other air cargo carriers), the Alliance Global Logistics Hub, and the BNSF Railway intermodal facility and carload transportation center. 


Regional Truck Parking

In 2018, NCTCOG completed the Regional Truck Parking Study to assess the overnight and temporary truck parking needs in the region. The analysis also identified specific areas with the most critical truck parking priorities, the Corridors of Concern.  Recommendations were developed to provide guidance to address these findings.  Since the completion of the study, NCTCOG has been following through on the recommendations. NCTCOG is coordinating with TxDOT, updating datasets used in the study, identifying potential truck parking locations and funding for truck parking, and developing the Regional Truck Parking Plan.

Based on the recommendations and information discovered in the Truck Parking Study, this plan will outline NCTCOG’s approach to truck parking, policies, programs, best practices for truck parking and how to handle atypical project requests.

Regional Rail Study

TxDOT and NCTCOG are working with regional rail partners to produce a study that addresses freight rail movements and infrastructure in the North Central Texas Region. The study will use data collection including carload data, train counts, grade crossing data, and assessment of rail infrastructure to identify areas for improvement. This data will also be used with rail modeling efforts to determine where bottleneck and congestion issues exist, where they will exist in the future, and what projects and improvements are needed to improve those issues. When completed in late 2019, the report will include prioritized performance improvements enabling projects, including cost estimates, potential grade separations with concept layouts, and any other improvements to regional rail operations that may be needed. 

Truck Automation

NCTCOG has partnered with the University of Texas at Arlington to study the impact of truck automation on the region. Tasks for the study include identifying the trucking industry’s most crucial issue related to automation, including how to properly move forward with automation implementation. To accomplish these goals a survey will be conducted that will review the impact on drivers, fleet managers, technology providers, highway planners, and designers.  The results of the automated vehicle study will be factored into regional freight planning moving forward.

Texas Freight Corridor

The NCTCOG Automated Vehicles Program received approval in 2018 for grant proposal to partner with TxDOT to implement IH 30 Technology Corridor project. This is part of TxDOT's Connected Freight Corridor program that includes piloting new communications technologies along the highways the compose the "Texas Triangle." Technologies include direct short-range radio communications and fifth generation (5G) wireless technologies. This project along IH 30 will allow NCTCOG and other agencies to test the efficacy of various connected vehicle technologies.

Crossing incidents

There are over 2,900 at-grade rail crossings in the region. It is important for North Texans to follow proper safety precautions near crossings and remember the train always has the right-of-way. Since 2000, when there were 67 incidents in North Texas, the number has been trending downward. In 2018, there were 37 incidents recorded.

Keeping Our Neighbors Safe

The NCTCOG Safety Program works to improve the safety of our transportation system by developing and implementing programs and projects that reduce the number of crashes, serious injuries, and fatalities on area roadways.
In 2018, the Dallas-Fort Worth region experienced a total of 122,126 crashes, of which 3,781 crashes resulted in at least one fatality or serious injury. This represents a decrease from 2017 in the number of fatal and serious injury crashes. However, it is still a long way from the regional safety position adopted by the Regional Transportation Council in 2018, which states that “Even one death on the transportation system is unacceptable.”

Safety Targets

NCTCOG continues to coordinate and work with the Texas Department of Transportation in support of the safety performance targets. Planners seek to reduce the number of fatalities, fatality rate, number of serious injuries, serious injury rate, and the number of bike and pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries covering all roadway types by 2022.  The safety performance targets were developed using a data-driven, multi-year, collaborative process. The goal is to reduce serious injuries and fatalities by 2.0% in 2022. 

One tool being used to make progress toward these targets is emergency assistance along highways. Mobility assistance patrols provide help to stalled or stranded motorists along interstate corridors in Dallas and Tarrant Counties, along with toll roads managed by NTTA and private operators on LBJ and North Tarrant Express. In 2018, mobility assistance patrols helped 6,000 more motorists than the previous year get their vehicles moving again or provided protection to motorists and first responders. To help ensure the safety of our first responders, remember it is Texas state law to move over or slow down for emergency vehicles on the side of the road.
NCTCOG also trains emergency personnel to clear crash scenes quickly. More than 3,000 first responders and managers have completed incident management training, which helps emergency workers handle roadway crashes more efficiently to minimize the effects of traffic crashes. Police officers, firefighters and courtesy patrol representatives have accounted for approximately 82% of the participants of the program.

Wrong-way Driving

In 2018, there were 694 wrong way crashes on area roadways, with 100 of these crashes resulting in at least one fatality or serious injury. Due to the severity of these crashes, NCTCOG continues to work with the Dallas and Fort Worth TxDOT districts to execute the Wrong Way Driving Mitigation Program to implement intersection, highway, and technology improvements that assist in preventing future incidents. The program began in Dallas County in 2014 and was expanded to Tarrant County in 2015. It has since been introduced in several additional cities across the eastern half of the region. To date, 382 intersection/ramp improvements have either been completed or are underway.

NTTA is also working to combat wrong-way driving on its roadways by implementing similar countermeasures, including ITS technologies. A pilot program that uses traffic cameras and specialized software that can detect a vehicle moving in the wrong direction has been implemented in Dallas County.





Public Involvement

The Transportation Department had a busy year on the public involvement front. Technology continues to define how we do just about everything, including communicate. In 2018, the department amended its Public Participation Plan as it sought to embrace modern communications techniques. It has begun implementing many of the changes, including a revised public meeting calendar.

In the past, NCTCOG typically scheduled three meetings for each round of public meetings, regardless of the topics being discussed. With live streaming over the internet, meetings can be “broadcast” on residents’ computers, tablets or smartphones, eliminating the need for many to travel to public meetings. There is still an opportunity to attend the meeting that is streamed, but people can also watch it at their convenience, either live or recorded.

Community Outreach

Outreach is another important component of the Transportation Department’s public involvement strategy. Staff attends community events throughout the year to maximize its reach. In 2018, the department was involved with 13 events that reached more than 133,000 people. Outreach will be enhanced in the future with the department’s plan to engage area businesses and community organizations.

Additionally, the department conducted extensive aviation outreach, attending 18 events Interactions with youth at summer camps, STEM-related activities, career fairs and air shows helped spread the word about career opportunities in aviation and FLYBY DFW, the department’s interactive gaming app. Nearly 2,500 unique users visited the aviation careers website, while almost 700 people downloaded the app for Apple and Android devices. 

Social Media

Social media is an important tool the department uses to reach its audience. And its influence continues to grow. For example, the department’s Facebook account grew by 34 percent, and Twitter gained 11 percent more followers. Below are the most engaging topics from 2018. Posts about roadway projects, planning and programs reached the most people (83,576), followed by transit posts (62,999). High-speed rail posts were the most engaging, at 6.1 percent.   

Live Streaming

One way to promote open government is to stream business and other meetings live online. The Transportation Department has done this for several years and saw a surge in activity in 2018, with 37% more people watching live feeds. Viewership peaked in April, during the RTC’s consideration of how to move forward with the LBJ East project.   

New Website

The agency introduced a new website in 2018 with a more modern look and feel aimed at enhancing user experience while helping people participate directly in the planning process. The site also is mobile-friendly. Maps, reports, publications or data can be examined on your desktop or in the palm of your hand. Visit for more information.

Air North Texas

One campaign that allows residents to directly participate in the solution of a problem is Air North Texas.
Air North Texas celebrated Clean Air Action Day on June 22, securing more than 1,000 commitments from individuals pledging to take an active role to improve air quality. The campaign encourages individuals, governments and companies to make choices that encourage air quality improvement. Residents across the region participated in the event by logging and sharing their specific commitments to and NCTCOG’s social media pages.
Individuals could select from among more than 20 commitments. The top three were:
· Take lunch to work 
· Confirm up to date on maintenance and state emissions and safety inspection
· Maintain consistent driving speed
 Help NCTCOG plan for future needs in your neighborhood and beyond. We are listening.


Federal Performance Measures

The Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration are required to implement a common system of transportation performance measures for states and metropolitan planning organizations. FHWA and FTA have developed a series of measures through four rulemaking processes. NCTCOG is implementing and integrating the required measures. This common set of measures gives FHWA and FTA a common baseline for evaluating the existing national system and the effectiveness of their funding programs. It also allows for direct region-to-region comparison of how states and MPOs are doing in their efforts to boost the performance of their transportation systems.

NCTCOG continues to monitor and report on these federal performance measures and has responded to all four major performance measure rulemakings. Specifically, the rulemakings include measures related to safety pavement and bridge condition; System Performance, Freight, and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality; and Transit Asset Management. The pavement and bridge condition measures have a four-year performance reporting period cycle that began in 2018. NCTCOG and TxDOT must set two-year and four-year targets for each of these measures. MPOs may also agree to support the state’s targets instead of adopting quantitative targets. The RTC adopted 2020 and 2022 targets for pavement and bridge condition and System Performance, Freight, and CMAQ measures in November 2018. Other performance measure rulemakings (Safety and Transit Asset Management) have an annual target-setting schedule. The RTC most recently approved targets for the safety and transit asset management measures in February 2019.


NCTCOG safety Target Recommendations


Pavement and Bridge Condition Measures

Existing federal regulations now require that NCTCOG set performance targets for pavement and bridge conditions on the National Highway System (NHS).  The NHS includes all Interstate Highways and other roads designated by developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) as important to the nation’s economy, defense, and mobility.  The state of Texas has the largest NHS network in the nation.  The NHS network in the DFW region includes over 12,000 lane-miles (including over 3,600 bridges).

For NHS pavement conditions, NCTCOG must set targets for the percentage of pavements (based on lane-miles) of the Interstate System and the Non-Interstate NHS in “good” or “poor” condition as defined in federal regulations.  NCTCOG is supporting the pavement performance targets set by TxDOT.  NCTCOG also approved a policy statement to work with local governments to focus on the improvement of NHS Local Off-System Arterials in “poor” condition.
NCTCOG must set targets for the percentage of NHS bridges classified in “good” or “poor” condition as defined in federal regulations.  NCTCOG has chosen to support the bridge performance targets set by TxDOT.  In addition, NCTCOG approved a policy statement to expedite the programming of funding to improve NHS bridge in “poor” condition. 


System Performance, Freight, and CMAQ Measures
This broad set of required measures addresses travel time reliability, freight movement, excessive delay, commuter mode share, and air quality. For most of these measures, NCTCOG opted to establish its own targets for 2020 and 2022, though in some cases these targets must be agreed upon with TxDOT.

Performance Measure Baseline
2020 Target 2022 Target
Interstate Reliability (% Person Miles Travelled) 77.3% 78.6% 79.5%
This measure represents the percentage of travel on the region’s Interstates that occurs on facility segments that meet the threshold for reliability/predictability of travel specified in the rulemaking. Increasing values represent an improvement.
Non-Interstate NHS Reliability (% Person Miles Travelled) 71.1% N/A 71.1%
This measure represents the percentage of travel on the region’s Non-Interstate National Highway System (NHS)[1] that occurs on facility segments that meet the threshold for reliability/predictability of travel specified in the rulemaking. Increasing values represent an improvement.
Truck Travel Time Reliability Index 1.74 1.71 1.66
This measure is a reliability index[2] that represents the amount of extra time that truck drivers have to add to median trip times because of predictability issues to arrive on time at their destination. If a hypothetical trip in the region is typically 10 minutes, truck drivers needed to plan for 17.4 total minutes in 2017 to arrive on time 95% of the time. Lower values represent an improvement.
Peak Hour Excessive Delay (Person-Hours per Capita)* 15.5 N/A 15.0
The rulemaking defines “excessive delay” as delay during peak travel times that occurs either below 20mph or 60% of the speed limit, whichever is lower. The measure is reported is the amount of this delay per capita, which represents the impact that delay has on individual users of the roadway system. Lower values represent an improvement.
Percent Non-SOV Mode Share (% Commuter Trips)* 19.5% 19.9% 20.2%

This measure is the percentage of commuters in the urbanized area who traveled to work using a means other than driving alone as reported by the latest available American Community Survey data. Higher values represent an improvement.

On-Road Mobile Source Emissions Reductions (Cumulative) NOx (kg/day) 2,410.80 2,892.96 5,062.68
VOC (kg/day) 499.72 599.67 1,079.40
This measure is the cumulative reduction of certain pollutants that will be eliminated by the construction of projects funded with CMAQ funding. The 2020 and 2022 targets are cumulative totals for the performance period. Higher values represent an improvement.
While some of the targets show worsening performance, all targets represent an improvement over the observed historical trend. NCTCOG will continue to monitor and report on these measures, and the RTC will have the opportunity to revisit the 2022 (four-year) targets in 2020.
Regional Transit Asset Management Targets 2018
 NCTCOG is required by federal government to set regional transit asset management (TAM) targets in coordination with transit providers.  The regional targets of transit assets focus on ensuring that public transportation vehicles, rail lines, and other capital assets are in a state of good repair.  TAM will help prioritize funding to achieve or maintain the state of good repair by evaluating the condition of transit assets compared to the regional targets. 
Asset Category 2019 Target Metric
Rolling Stock              (transit vehicles) 0% Percent of vehicles that meet or exceed their useful life
(rail track)
0% Percent of rail track segments with performance restrictions
(transit support vehicles)
0% Percent of vehicles that meet or exceed their useful life
(buildings, stations, park and rides)
0% Percent of transit facilities rated below “adequate” on the Transit Economic Requirements Model scale
[1] The NHS consists of roadways that are important to the national transportation system. Most of the roadway-specific performance measures in PM2 and PM3 apply to various portions the region’s NHS network.
[2] Also referred to as a “planning time index.”



Anthony Luna, 6th grade's drawing of Dallas, Texas
Winner: Anthony Luna
6th Grade
Permenter Middle School
Teacher: Sarah Box
Vladmir Munoz, 8th grade's drawing of Dallas, Texas from a window perspective.
2nd Place : Vladimir Munoz
8th Grade
Permenter Middle School
Teacher: Sarah Box
Laila Zoubi, 6th grade drawing of Dallas, Texas from a park
3rd Place: Laila Zoubi
6th Grade
Permenter Middle School
Teacher: Sarah Box
Isaiah Edwards, 8th Grade's drawing of a remote control car.
Honorable Mention: Isaiah Edwards
8th Grade
Coleman Middle School
Teacher: Alvin Collins
Child's drawing of bus driving on highway. Child's drawing of downtown Dallas, Texas. Child's drawing of a car in a city with the text "Music Everywhere"
Child's drawing of cars on a highway Child's drawing of a car at a store in Texas surrounded by tall cacti. Child's drawing of a duck in a pond nearby a train at night.