THINKING BIGGER (AND SMARTER) IN TEXAS
March 1, 2007
Through the Texas Metropolitan Mobility Plan (TMMP), Texas has become the first state to adopt traffic congestion reduction objectives for its urban areas. The plan emerged from the Governor's Business Council (GBC) and provides a "road map" for improving traffic congestion and for maintaining and even improving the competitiveness of urban areas, say consultants Wendell Cox and Alan Pisarski.
The critical steps to the plan:
- Identifying potential urban area mobility goals; the GBC/ TMMP process has used a maximum traffic congestion goal for this process.
- Developing general system improvement requirements for each potential mobility goal; alternative strategies, such as transit improvements, can be a part of the mix so long as their contribution to traffic reduction is obtained at a cost lower than alternative highway projects.
- Identifying funding requirements to achieve each potential mobility goal; it is important to not prejudice the planning process by focusing on financing mechanisms before adopting the mobility goal and the outline of strategies required to achieve the goal.
- Adopting the final urban area mobility goal from the alternatives considered.
Texas' approach does not accept further decline assured by financially constrained plans, and pursues a goal that responds directly to congestion needs, raising the necessary resources through revenue strategies, including conventional finance and tolling (including public-private partnerships), say Cox and Pisarski. The principal advantage of a TMMP-type process is that it is needs-driven and can thus be the mechanism for significant improvements in urban mobility and urban economic performance.
Source: Wendell Cox and Alan Pisarski, "Thinking Bigger (and Smarter) in Texas," Reason, January 3, 2007.
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