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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition


Tracking COVID-19 Impact in North Texas

The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) has undertaken Changing Mobility, a project that identifies the impacts on transportation and air quality of the coronavirus pandemic, and begun to chart a course toward recovery. The project examines four metrics: travel behavior response to COVID-19; financial implications to traditional revenue sources; benefits to travel behavior; and prioritization of infrastructure improvements that offset unemployment increases. An interactive dashboard provides information about these metrics since March.

While all transportation modes including roadway to rail, bicycle-pedestrian facilities and aviation were impacted, the rates of recovery differ. Some measures, such as air quality, bicycle-pedestrian activity and freight reliability have shown improvement. For air quality, the number of bad ozone days this season was 21, the lowest since 2016; truck travel time reliability has improved, meaning goods are getting to market and consumers more efficiently; telecommuting, as reported by, has increased dramatically since the pandemic began; and more people are using the region’s growing bicycle-pedestrian trail network with activity up consistently.

Data indicates for every $1 billion invested in transportation, between 12,000 and 15,000 jobs are created. For an event that has affected employment so significantly, a combination of short- and long-term transportation projects is needed to yield maximum benefit. When interest rates are low, borrowing money for significant infrastructure projects costs less. The Regional Transportation Council continues to approve funding for smaller projects through the COVID-19 #00X program. NCTCOG and its partners are also working to prioritize construction projects across the region to boost the economy.

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