DART Predicts Traffic Tweaks on Central Will Save $26 Million Per Year

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Head down Central Expressway at or near rush hour, and you're guaranteed to spend awhile sitting in traffic. There's no guarantee, though, that any other route will be quicker, so drivers are left to sit and wait and wonder.

You won't have to wonder for much longer. DART is rolling out a system next month aimed at better managing traffic on Central. A big part of that is a new website, 511DFW.com, which will put up-to-the-second information about accidents and traffic conditions at their fingertips. There will be a mobile version but no app.

"The idea is to catch people sooner," DART spokesman Morgan Lyons told the Morning News. "If you're about to pull on to Central and you're in the access road and find out there's an accident, it's a little late. Now we can intercept that motorist earlier and say maybe you want to come down Coit, maybe you want to take Greenville, maybe you want to take transit."

There will be other tweaks to how traffic is managed in the Central Expressway corridor. The stop lights along Greenville will be timed to improve traffic flow, for example, and DART trains will dispatch data on their location, available capacity and expected time of arrival. But Lyons says the takeaway is that commuters will now have a one-stop shop for traffic information, at least from Dallas to Plano.

This will make a commuter's life slightly easier, but it's only a modest improvement over, say, radio traffic updates or smartphone apps. The real benefits come when you look at the project as a whole.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, which is providing the bulk of the funding for the initiative, predicts it will save nearly a million gallons of fuel, keep 9,400 tons of carbon dioxide from being belched into the atmosphere, and cut down the time spent in traffic 740,000 hours per year. The total economic benefit? A cool $26.4 million. That's not bad considering the project costs less than half that much.

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Stationing rapid response tow trucks at key locations and training DPD in best practices in traffic accident clearance would go along way to addressing the situation, as well.

It's much cheaper, more practical and far more effective.

scottindallas topcommenter

You'd think Unfair Park would've written a story about this, and they still can:  what does everyone think of the work on Greenville?  Is it your wildest dreams come true?  It looks like a big, meh to me, but I'm just driving through anymore.  I can't believe they killed Ali Baba, they killed it, and came up with that "fancy" new menu, when what they had was genuine, simple and magnificent.  So, what do you other'en think?


Putting electronic signs on all of the on-ramps that warn of the accident would have a much bigger impact.  How hard could that be?

Montemalone topcommenter

Traffic is bad because we have 7 million people all driving all the time. 

I grew up here.  We were hearing about trains and monorails (Max Goldblatt's baby) for years before anything was ever built, and the result is not a city transportation system. It's a suburban commuter rail system. 

As long as people keep moving here, which they seem to be doing, traffic will get worse and worse, and no amount of expensive email alerts will stop it.


Step one - Make up a fake number really big from a hypothetical "GAS" savings, yea people love paying a dollar to save a dime if its a GREEN dime, that one works good these days 

Step two - Spend 60% of that hypothetical number and the idiots will think they still came out ahead, then tell them they can have it on the iphone as an app but it will be another $3-6 million 

Step three - call your buddy that designs websites, stick some gps sensors on the dart train and presto! 

A $13.2 million dollar story about nothing

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Let me see if I understand this.  This project will cost slightly less than $13.2 million.

How is this any better than the traffic reports from local radio stations?

Is this another project, similar to the Arlington PD drone grant, where the reason why it is being done is because there is a government grant available?

People we are trillions of dollars in debt.  We do not have this money to spend.

Face it, the traffic volume on Central was greater before it was rebuilt than is the traffic capacity of the expanded roadway.

If DART really wants to make a dent in the traffic levels on Central, quit running the Toonerville Trolley and set up the light rail station to run express trains from Plan to Downtown.  Despite, or in spite of, the traffic congestion on Central the time on DART rail from Downtown Dallas to North Plano is about the same as driving.  Until the DART rail provides a significant advantage to the commuter in terms of time, there will not be much inroads into the traffic congestion reduction on Central.


@gmit How is spending less time in traffic only a "hypothetical" savings.  Do you doubt the existence of gasoline?

ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@robbysalz suburban community commuters spend lots of tax dollars in dallas, so make it easier to get here and they may stay and spend more time and money here.  You may have a disdain for the burbanite, but you cant ignore the positive economic impact they have

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