At its meeting on Sept. 25, the Transportation Policy Council formally approved the final draft of the Transportation Performance Measures report. The report evaluates our region's goals for improved performance of the transportation system. The goals are based on six key areas set by federal guidelines: 1) safety, 2) reliability, 3) air quality, 4) pavement and bridges, 5) congestion, and 6) transit asset management. Click HERE for more information and to read the final report.

H-GAC Transportation Planner Stephan Gage presented two major safety initiatives currently in development. The first is a draft resolution to adopt a Regional Vision Zero action plan to eliminate traffic fatalities in the eight-county metropolitan planning area by 2050. Texas leads the nation in traffic fatalities, and the Houston-Galveston eight-county planning area suffers more than 600 fatalities annually. The resolution would acknowledge H-GAC programs and policies in support of the Texas Road to Zero initiative and expand on existing Vision Zero campaigns under way in Houston and Harris County.

The second presentation discussed two new Regional Safety Plan initiatives beginning later this year. H-GAC staff will soon launch the Regional Safety Campaign, which seeks to increase public awareness of ongoing issues that impact traffic safety in the region. The campaign will focus on areas such as bicycling, pedestrian safety, distracted driving, driving while intoxicated, speeding, child seat safety, and seatbelt safety, and is set to launch toward the end of 2020. H-GAC is also set to begin a series of safety audits to identify high-risk intersections in the region. These intersections would be targeted for improvements to reduce the risk for serious or fatal crash incidents.

TPC member Carol Lewis, Ph.D., professor and director of the Texas Southern University Center for Transportation, Training and Research, presented the results of a pilot project involving autonomous vehicles. Researchers at Texas Southern University piloted an autonomous shuttle that escorted students, faculty, staff, and visitors along the Tiger Walk promenade from June 5, 2019 to Feb. 25, 2020. According to research findings, the vehicle performed well in most weather conditions. However, it was unable to maintain operation during heavy rain. Also, battery life was severely impacted by extreme heat, excessive use of the air conditioning or heating system, and large use of the provided USB ports that allowed passengers to charge their mobile devices during trips. The autonomous shuttle provided more than 7,500 trips, and overall reception by the campus was positive. The lessons learned from the pilot will be applied to future autonomous vehicle operations in the region.

Towards the end of the meeting, the council celebrated the esteemed career of H-GAC Transportation Director Alan Clark, who retired at the end of September after 37 years of service at H-GAC.
 
To listen to the audio recording of the latest TPC meeting, click HERE. The next meeting is scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m., Friday, Oct. 23 via teleconference webinar. Click HERE for more information. Public comments on agenda items may be sent by email to publiccomments@h-gac.com. Comments received by 5 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 22 will be entered into the meeting record.