Texas has an extensive and diverse multimodal transportation network that includes aviation, rail, public transit, ports, waterways, bicycle and pedestrian modes. This program will highlight the role that these modes play in supporting our state’s mobility and economy along with how the Texas Department of Transportation supports these critical systems throughout the state.
Like the rest of the nation and the world, TxDOT dealt with the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on its operations, along with its daily duties of managing the state’s transportation network for 29 million Texans. That’s a lot on the agency’s collective plate, and this new year also brings a new legislative session to Austin, complete with questions from state leaders and legislators about how TxDOT has met its mission of Connecting You With Texas. In this session, TxDOT Executive Director James Bass and TxDOT Chief of Staff Mary Anne Griss will talk about how TxDOT has managed to operate in the era of COVID - and still connect Texans to what’s important to them - and what’s on the horizon for TxDOT for 2021.
Transportation is always a popular topic during a legislative session, and with lawmakers already beginning the work of making state laws during the 87th session which began January 12th, it’s a sure bet that transportation will work its way into the conversations. Legislation has already been filed to have drivers of alternative vehicles pay an additional registration or renewal fee for using Texas roads, and one bill could change how much Texas drivers pay at the pump for gas and diesel fuels. In this session, TxDOT’s State Legislative Affairs Director Trent Thomas and SLA’s assistant director, Cory Henrickson, talk about how transportation, in general, and TxDOT, in particular, may be part of the discussion this session.
Since his eight-year term as a member of the Texas Transportation Commission and now into his 13th year as a member of the Texas Senate, Robert Nichols has been a stalwart supporter of transportation and finding new ways to improve infrastructure. In this session, Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Nichols will have an engaging conversation with TxDOT Executive Director James Bass about his transportation perspective and his thoughts on making the job of moving people and products in and through the Lone Star State a continued priority.
In this session, we’ll cross the Capitol Rotunda and talk to Rep. Terry Canales and get his take on where transportation is headed in Texas as well as what’s ahead with respect to multimodal transportation.
It’s been less than a month since the gavel sounded that began the opening of the 87th Legislative Session. Not only did it bring with it some operational changes for representatives and senators who must manage their duties through the lens of COVID safety precautions, but it also bought a new Speaker of the House, four new senators and 16 new representatives. Members have a full agenda: Texas’ recovery from the effects of the virus, the challenge of balancing a budget that begins with slightly less revenue than the previous session and continued social unrest in our nation. In this session, TxDOT’s Jerry Haddican will interview the newest Speaker of the House, Dade Phelan, as he gives his take on what’s ahead.
Please join us for a conversation with Congressman Colin Allred (TX-32) of Dallas. The Congressman is returning as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and will discuss a wide range of topics expected to be addressed by the Committee as the 117th Congress gets underway. These include a new bill for highway funding and related policies, the potential for a vast infrastructure bill to help stimulate the economy, and issues such as the continued emergence of drones and innovative transportation technologies. TxDOT’s Melanie Alvord sits down with Congressman Allred for a one on one interview.
In December, Congress approved $10 billion in COVID relief funding for state departments of transportation. But a COVID backstop is just one concern for DOTs across the country. Many are facing financial shortages that only spell fewer projects - and less progress - for hundreds of millions of drivers across the nation. And some DOTs are still grappling with how to improve diversity among its workforce, with developing its employees for the future of transportation. In this session, TxDOT’s Megan Kinney interviews Joung Lee, the director of Policy and Government Relations at the American Association of Highway Transportation Officials to find out what challenges DOTs are facing and what they should prepare for.
It seems that every day, the headlines announce some new technology that will change transportation as we know it. With the prospect of fully automated self-driving cars on the horizon, and manufacturers making moves in that direction with every new make and model, we get closer to that reality with each passing year. But just how close are we? And what do state DOTs need from the new Congress and new administration in Washington to move the needle? In this session with TxDOT Deputy Director Marc Williams will interview the president and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, the premier organization devoted to advancing the research and deployment of intelligent transportation technologies, we’ll find out just how far we have to go.
When Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg took the helm of the governing body for the Texas Department of Transportation in 2017, he gave TxDOT the mantra of “Execute. Execute. Execute.” TxDOT has followed that marching order, and today more than $24 billion in construction and maintenance projects are underway around the state, and some $74.7 billion is planned over the next decade. In this session, Chairman Bugg gives an update on the progress TxDOT is making in connecting Texas and balancing the needs of a large, diverse and growing state.
As Governor Greg Abbott heads into his fourth legislative session since taking the state’s highest office, he and state leaders will be tackling the issues most important to Texas and Texans. This certainly will include transportation and its role as one of the cornerstones of the Texas economy. To discuss the Governor’s ongoing vision for the success of Texas, and how the state’s transportation network plays into that vision, Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg, Jr. will go straight to the source in a dynamic one-on-one conversation with Gov. Abbott.
Though COVID-19 brought lower traffic volumes at the height of stay-at-home orders in 2020, the Texas population continues to grow with the majority of Texans living and working in the state’s largest metro areas. This panel will feature an engaging discussion around TxDOT’s Texas Clear Lanes initiative to provide congestion relief for the top chokepoints in the state. Panelists will discuss what’s been accomplished to date, what remains to be done, and why congestion relief is more important than ever for the state’s long-term success.
Texas, despite its regional and geographic differences, is connected by its transportation system. Its 197,000 miles of roadway, more than 10,500 miles of rail and its 379 miles of Gulf Intracoastal Waterway together create an interwoven system that allows its citizens to seamlessly travel from one end of the state to the other. It’s our transportation network that makes it possible for cotton baled in Lubbock to travel by rail to Fort Worth where it hops another train to California before it is loaded on a ship bound for the Far East. It’s our transportation system that blurs the lines between rural and metro because Texas’ economic competitiveness depends on that connection. In this session, our invited panelists have an open discussion about the importance of ensuring that this system continues to work together for the good of the state.
The last deathless day on Texas roads was Nov. 7, 2000, and in that time, more than 71,000 Texans have lost their lives in traffic crashes. That’s 71,000 mothers, fathers, children and friends – and their loved ones must contend with their absences every day. TxDOT has been sounding the clarion call that Texas must find a way to stop the streak of deadly deaths. So far, the call has gone unanswered as Texans continue to needlessly die on our state’s roads. These deaths - these losses - are preventable.
In a major urban center in Texas, an unmanned vehicle delivers medicine and groceries to a family quarantined and taking care of ill family members. At the same time, autonomous trucks travel along various interstates with a safety driver’s hands hovering over the steering wheel, but with little need to make contact. Meanwhile, all over the state, Texans purchase their first vehicles with systems that automate several tasks - like staying in a given lane or parallel parking - tasks once relegated to the driver. Welcome to the world of emerging transportation technologies. The list of real-world, here-and-now connected and automated deployments on Texas roads grows every day. What is going on around the state and what do we need to do to prepare our roadways and our people? In this TechDOT session, TxDOT talks about vehicle automation with private sector deployers to explore how federal and state cooperation can keep positive improvements going and to find out where this is all heading.
Throughout 2020, the pandemic and its economic and social effects have impacted virtually every aspect of our lives, including if and how we travel as well as how we receive our goods and services. As vaccines are distributed and we hope for a recovery from the pandemic in 2021, what further changes could we expect in transportation? Will growth continue in online purchase and home delivery of goods and services? Will the work at home trend continue? When and how will air travel and public transit rebound? This panel will address these and other questions as we explore what normal may look like for transportation once we get back to normal?