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Transportation Group to Conduct Four-year Project for DART

November 27, 2007

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority (DART) has entered a partnership with the Transportation Group within the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Arlington to conduct studies aimed at improving regional mobility within DART’s service area. The four-year, $240,000 partnership will involve a variety of traffic and development issues, spanning incident management and emergency response to managed traffic lanes.

During the project, Civil Engineering Drs. Sia Ardekani and Steve Mattingly will evaluate data gathered by personnel from DART and Texas Southern University, a subcontractor in the project, before recommending actions. Their first study will investigate ways to improve the identification and response to roadway incidents that have a potential to hamper DART operations, including accidents, stalled vehicles or lane obstructions. Analysis of this data will also allow them to see if some roadway sections are more prone to creating incidents and the severity of the resulting congestion.

Other factors for consideration will include the time it takes for traffic to move smoothly again, whether emergency and/or service assistance was required and, if so, how it affected traffic flow. Drs. Ardekani and Mattingly will then be able to classify and numerically rank various incidents in terms of their severity and the resources needed to respond to them.

The soon-to-open high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on some freeways (e.g.: Interstate 30, North Central Expressway) will be another area of study. DART and the Dallas Transportation Center are interested in using HOV lanes also as managed lanes, where single-occupancy vehicles could use the lanes by paying a fee.

The uniqueness of this four-year agreement is the ability of DART and the researchers to move quickly from one problem area to another as situations and priorities demand. The overall goal is to optimize the use of transit resources to enhance regional mobility, reduce delays, and improve air quality in the region.