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Report: Trinity Toll Road Will Make Regional Travel a Little Better, Mobility Within Dallas Worse

It'll help people get out of Dallas.
One of many visions of the road that isn't going to happen. (concept drawing via NTTA)
One of many past visions of the road that isn’t going to happen. (concept drawing via NTTA)

Brandon Formby shares newly released traffic estimates regarding the impact of the Trinity Parkway project:

According to North Texas traffic projections for 2035, drivers who pass through a 34.3-mile area around the road will collectively drive 8 million miles a day if Trinity Parkway is built. But they’ll only drive 7 million miles a day that same year if it isn’t. And while the toll road’s existence is expected to help drivers around the urban core spend 4,817 fewer hours sitting in traffic jams each day, the time they’ll spend driving overall will jump about 11,677 hours a day.

Rush hour bottlenecks are frequently used to justify adding highway lanes to existing road networks. A growing number of urban planning experts, though, say the distances people must drive to complete their daily tasks is a better indicator of regional mobility. They say farther distances indicate worse mobility – and require more public funds for road construction and maintenance.

But according to traffic estimates released Friday, regional planners say the larger 12-county North Texas area will see driving distances drop from 282.5 million miles every day to 282.4 million miles if the road is built. Those numbers represent a 0.02 percent drop for the region compared to a 15 percent increase for the area around downtown Dallas.

These numbers are based on the large-scale version of the road that the federal government has approved. It’s unknown exactly what the Dream Team’s version would do.