Interesting Texas Traffic Stories for March, 2019
Check out some of the interesting news stories and developments affecting Texas drivers from the past month.
One Texas lawmaker has had enough of sitting in traffic and hopes he's not alone.
State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, filed a package of legislation this week to ease traffic congestion, specifically along Interstate 35.
His series of bills provide a host of options to tackle traffic congestion, including tolls, bonds and fuel tax increases. Watson said none of the legislation is perfect but he wants state leaders to have choices when addressing Texas traffic, as previous attempts to take on traffic concerns have failed to pass.
"Every mechanism of revenue is going to have... somebody that’s critical of it or something that is not perfect. But without them, and without us talking about them, we are just going to be stuck in traffic and I refuse to do nothing just because it may not be the best politics in this building." [Read more…]
A long-term study conducted at a select intersection in Texas suggests that longer yellow light intervals can reduce the number of red-light-running incidents.
On April 11, 2018, the City Council of Denton, Texas commenced an experiment at one of its 12 intersections equipped with red light cameras, wherein it lengthened the yellow light interval at this single intersection by one second, from 3.5 to 4.5 seconds. This intersection had recorded a high of 91 red-light-running incidents in a single month, April of 2017, in the year running up to the experiment's launch.
In the first full month following the implementation of a longer yellow light interval at this intersection, May of 2018, red light runners totaled 19, the lowest count for more than a year leading up to that month. Runners in May of 2017 totaled 40, more than double the number seen with a lengthened yellow light. This decrease was sustained over the remainder of 2018, with the maximum single-month red-light-runner count reaching 25 in September of 2018. Still, this meant three fewer lights run that month than the lows of 2017—28—in July and December, and less than half the red-light-running rate (59 cases) of September 2017. No data for January of 2019 is yet available, but the incident rate is expected to be lower than in January of 2018.
Despite curbing red-light-runners, the intersection in question reported an increased rate of accidents for the year of 2018, seeing seven accidents to the two previous years' five apiece. Three of these crashes came before the program's implementation, but approximated full-year figures suggest that one more crash is likely to happen each year. [Read more…]
Texas ranks third in a report about pedestrian traffic fatalities that analyzed data from January to June of 2018. The study was done by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which used preliminary data from the State Highway Safety Offices.
Richard Retting, a researcher with the GHSA and author of the report, told Houston Matters on Thursday that the report projects 6,227 pedestrian fatalities occurred in the United States during the first six months of 2018. In an interview with Houston Matters Host Craig Cohen, Retting noted that’s the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in nearly three decades.
From January to June of 2017, there were 266 pedestrian fatalities in Texas. That figure went up to 298 during the first six months of 2018, a 12 percent increase.
Only California, with 432 pedestrian fatalities registered during the analyzed time frame, and Florida, with 330, rank higher than Texas in the report. [Read more…]
A bill to remove automated red light camerad throughout Texas is gaining momentum in the state's legislature. More than 100 Texas lawmakers say the state's red light cameras should come down.
"It hasn't been Republican-Democrat. It's really the people of Texas stepping up and saying we want something done. We are sick of this. we don't like the idea of big brother in Texas," says Texas State Representative Johnathan Stickland.
Rep. Stickland says he has evidence which shows red light cameras tend to increase the number of accidents at intersections where they are installed. [Read more…]
Booming energy production has brought jobs and economic gains to communities throughout Texas, but also an unintended consequence with a rise in traffic fatalities and injuries.
The Texas Department of Transportation reminds drivers in those regions to Be Safe. Drive Smart when sharing the road with increased traffic, work crews and heavy, commercial trucks.
Motorists can expect to see a variety of reminders in the coming weeks as TxDOT kicks off its annual “Be Safe. Drive Smart” safety campaign.
This campaign urges drivers to take precautions when sharing the road with heavy trucks and work crews in energy-producing regions that cover more than half of the state’s 254 counties.
“Texas is leading the nation in oil and gas production, and with that, we are seeing an increase in truck traffic. And unfortunately, we are also seeing an increase in crashes and deaths on our roadways,” said Texas Department of Transportation Public Information OfficerRickey Dailey.
Increased traffic and larger, heavier vehicles are changing driving conditions not only here in South Texas, but in many parts of the state. [Read more…]
Don't let the slow drawl fool you. The fine people of Texas like to go fast. Maybe it's all that wide open space, the arrow-straight roads, or just something in the water. Whatever the case, the state routinely clocks some of the fastest speeders in the country—and we got our hands on the 2018 ticket data to show it.
Credit where credit is due: this list of the 50 fastest speeding tickets in Texas in 2018 was inspired by the work of the Houston Chronicle, which usually publishes one in January looking back at the preceding 365 days. But the paper opted not to do one this year, for whatever reason, leaving The Drive to carry on the mission.
Scrounging up the raw data involved filing a public information request with the Texas Department of Public Safety for every single speeding ticket issued by Texas Highway Patrol troopers in excess of 120 mph from January 1 to December 31 last year. We fully expected to never hear back. A couple weeks later, a lawyer for the department responded with a huge spreadsheet showing the date, location, vehicle, and speed for all 228 tickets fitting that description—plus extras like officer notes and the stop's exact GPS coordinates when available. [Read more…]
There's a study that says Austin drivers spent more time in traffic last year than drivers in any other Texas city. That's a pretty catchy headline -- but Jenni Lee spoke to an expert and found out it needs a little more context. [Watch the video…]
NASA has chosen two organizations to "host" the last stage of technical demonstrations involving drones, also known as unmanned aircraft systems.
The agency said Tuesday that the Lone Star UAS Center for Excellence & Innovation in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems in Las Vegas will host demonstrations in order to confirm that NASA's UAS Traffic Management system could "safely and effectively manage drone traffic in an urban area."
The last few years have seen drones become an increasingly common sight in our skies. Today, they're piloted by a range of users, from amateur enthusiasts to the military.
Their impact on modern life is not always positive, however. In late 2018, reports of drones at London's Gatwick airport caused huge disruption for travelers, with planes grounded and flights canceled. [Read more…]
Austin and San Antonio have teamed up to reduce traffic congestion between the two metropolitan areas, vowing to align transportation goals to manage population increases and traffic growth.
The cities' metro-area planners and the Texas Department of Transportation studied for over a year how to ease commuting within the regions, including along the busy Interstate 35 corridor.
"When we looked at the population projections of the San Antonio and Austin area, by 2050, we'll have the same population, if not more than what Dallas-Fort Worth has today," said Roger Beall, deputy director of the state agency's transportation, planning and programming division. "So we need to get ahead of the curve ... to take care of our transportation needs."
The study recommends more coordination and cooperation, but it doesn't outline next steps or funding options, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Democratic Sen. Kirk Watson said coordination is essential as the two metropolitan areas continue growing toward each other. [Read more…]
Blankets of blue flowers mark the beginning of spring in Texas.
Bluebonnets — the official state flower of Texas since 1901 — usually bloom from the end of March to early May.
Whether you gather all the kids to snap a photo of them in a field, or if you're simply driving on a state highway, we can all appreciate their beauty.
Besides Mother Nature, you can also thank the Texas Department of Transportation.
"We don't mow from winter to early summer, allowing flowers to drop seeds," a tweet from TxDOT's south region states. "And, our herbicide program targets noxious weeds only, which promotes wildflower growth. She does the rest." [Read more…]