Plans to develop a high-speed transportation system linking Dallas and Fort Worth are moving forward. Soon, commuters will be able to travel between the two cities in mere minutes.
This weekend, the North Central Texas Council of Governments will host a public meeting in Arlington to formally announce their intentions and gather feedback.
Transportation planners have studied more than 40 possible routes and numerous technologies to bring high-speed transportation to the region, said Dan Lamers, the agency’s senior program manager.
“Our plan allows us to carry forward one tried-and-true technology and one emerging technology,” Lamers said. “We want to keep both options on the table.”
Currently, the council is debating between two different types of transportation- traditional high-speed rail and hyperloop.
Traditional high-speed rails typically travel up to 200 mph and are fairly common in Asia and Europe.
Hyperloop is an ultra-high-speed ground transportation system for passengers and cargo popularized concept by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.
The system consists of sealed and partially evacuated tubes, connecting mobility hubs in large metropolitan areas, and pressurized vehicles, usually called pods, which can move at very high speeds, thanks to contactless levitation and propulsion systems as well as to the low aerodynamic drag.
Hyperloop can travel up to 600 mph and would be a much faster alternative to high-speed rails and the current DART train system, which top out at 200 and 65 mph, respectively.
In the past year, the authors of the study evaluated 43 routes connecting Fort Worth, Arlington, and Dallas. They determined the I-30 corridor was the most direct and least disruptive.
“We can’t just build our way out of congestion,” said Brandon Wheeler, principal transportation manager at the Council of Governments. “We can’t just add lanes to freeways.”
The study also offers proposals for transit stations, which will act as “mini downtown areas,” featuring hotels, apartments, restaurants, offices, and retail, Lamers said.
“The development that will be able to occur around the stations is immense,” Lamers said. “These are stations that are the size of airport terminals. They’re able to be built in a downtown urban environment.”
These stations would be vital because the high-speed Metroplex connector could link to other high-speed transit projects, like the Dallas-Houston high-speed rail line being developed by Texas Central.
Eventually, the Dallas-to-Fort Worth route would seek to connect to both local transportation and statewide systems, such as the Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail being developed by Texas Central, and DFW International Airport.
If TxDOT’s Texas-Oklahoma Passenger Rail Study comes to fruition, it would connect here, too.
The completion of high-speed transportation between Dallas and Fort Worth is still roughly 15 to 20 years away, though. The project would likely require various funding sources and be built and operated under some sort of public-private partnership.
Although some of us may not stick around in Texas long enough to experience the impending high-speed rail, it is encouraging to see city officials tackle the transportation issue in the region.
The DART rail system is decent but could use an additional system to complement it. If things go according to plan, the next system will be much faster than its predecessor and would make commuting much smoother for Texas locals.