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10/29/07  Trinity Toll Road Numbers

When TXDOT, NTTA and all the elected officials talk about the Trinity Toll Road and the capacity for relief it will provide, they always focus on the total number of vehicles that will use it per day.   It is much more accurate to focus on the amount of potential relief that will be provided during the peak usage which is rush hour.
Per TXDOT, each freeway lane has a capacity to handle up to 2,200 cars per hour per lane.   In this region on average, there are 1.2 people per vehicle on the road. 

Assuming 3 lanes of the toll road in each direction, the maximum capacity at rush hour is roughly 7,920 people would be transported per hour in each direction.   So, when looking at alternatives, you need to focus on those less than 8,000 people and providing other forms of transport.   Then, compare the cost of that transport to the $130,000,000 (per mile of construction) current cost of the toll road.   Central Expressway cost half that much to construct, including all the cantilevered access roads, rebuilding bridges, sound walls, etc.
When you break it down that way, most other forms of transport are less expensive and could include expanding the light rail system beyond the current DART plans (that would require additional funding)
It could include expanding bus service to suburbs that don't currently have it and could be rush hour only service.
It could include funding high speed rail service to remove 18 wheelers from local freeways when they are traveling long distances (think NAFTA traffic).
It could be high density development in the inner city that reduces car traffic, trails, additional HOV lanes to encourage car pooling, staggered work hours, street car development in close in neighborhoods, and so on. 
Some of these options require additional funding which could be obtained by raising the gasoline tax.   Some of it should be federal funding as an alternative to funding wars in foreign countries to secure oil supplies.
Voting YES will allow the region to re-think how people and goods are moved in the region.  With the rising cost of energy, our country needs to be looking at this issue as well.





  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8