H-GAC Transportation Newsletter: September 2020
Transportation Policy Council Meeting: Aug. 28
At its meeting on Aug. 28, the Transportation Policy Council amended the 2021-24 Transportation Improvement Program to include a project around the Lockwood light rail station in East End Houston to construct sidewalks and ramp improvements for seniors and residents with disabilities. The council also recognized September as Commute Solutions Month. Throughout September, Commute Solutions is hosting online events and activities to showcase how small changes in residents' daily commuting habits can create big cost-savings and a more sustainable region. More information is available at yourcommutesolution.org.
 
The council heard a proposal to add nearly 114 miles of highways and access roads in the region to the National Highway System. The National Highway System is the nation's network of roadways considered essential to the economy, defense, and mobility. Roadways on the National Highway System receive prioritized federal funding for modifications and improvements. The roadways recommended to be added are all considered vital to the movement of goods and workers along high-population and economically-significant parts of the Houston-Galveston region. They include sections of state highways 321 and 146, U.S. 90 East, and SH 99. A full map of the areas under consideration is available HERE. H-GAC will submit its final recommendations to the Texas Department of Transportation later in 2020.
 
Proposed amendments to the Transportation Development Credit policy would allow Livable Centers and access management projects to receive development credits. Transportation development credits serve as an additional funding source for projects when traditional sources of funding have been used up. Though the credits themselves are not cash, they can be used as local match on federally funded transportation projects. If local match on a project is replaced by transportation development credits, federal funding has to be increased to cover up to 100% of project costs.
 
The proposed amendments would expand the list of qualifying projects for transportation development credits to include those that make neighborhood streets safer and more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, and those that improve street intersections, interchanges, driveways, and other access management openings. Opening these projects - which are typically focused in rural and economically-disadvantaged communities - to the credits would add more flexibility in how they're funded and create more equitable investment in the region's overall transportation network.
 
The council recognized the service of outgoing member Brenda Mainwaring. Mainwaring, assistant vice president of public affairs at Union Pacific, served for seven years on the Transportation Policy Council as an ex-officio member representing freight rail interests. The council also named Tom Kuczynski and Kevin Thompson of Fort Bend County Transit as primary and alternate (respectively) members of the Transportation Safety Committee. Kuczynski and Thompson will fill the committee's public transportation agency position.
 
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, Sept. 25 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, Sept. 24 will be entered into the meeting record.
Commute Solutions Month Activities Continue Through End of September
Commute Solutions Month is in full swing, and there are many more fun and educational events and activities in store for the remainder of September.

Learn how you can make the most of your daily commute by trying the Make Your Commute Count interactive calculator, or join us and our partners on social media as we recognize Bike to Work (or Anywhere) Week. We also have webinars on a wide range of commuting topics, and we're collaborating with our transit partners to give you a closer look at how they are helping riders across the region #SitSafe. 
 
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for updates on all that’s happening Commute Solutions Month, or visit our website at yourcommutesolution.org.
October Brown Bag Will Cover Vision Zero Traffic Safety Initiative
At the next Brown Bag webinar, Lauren Grove, transportation planner with the City of Houston Planning and Development Department, will discuss one of the city's most ambitious safety initiatives, Vision Zero Houston.

Vision Zero is a commitment and strategy to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on Houston streets by 2030. It requires collaboration and leadership to improve mobility through engineering, enforcement, education, evaluation, and equity. Grove is coordinating the strategy for Vision Zero.
Lauren Grove
Transportation Planner
City of Houston Planning and Development
The webinar will take place at noon, on Monday, Oct. 19. Click here to register.

Missed the latest Brown Bag webinar? Visit the H-GAC webinar hub page. to view a recording of our webinar on Aug. 17 about the Texas Department of Transportation's ConnectSmart program.
Tow and Go Service Now Providing No-Cost Tows for Stranded Motorists in Harris County, Bellaire, Jersey Village, La Porte, and Humble
The Gulf Coast Regional Tow and Go™ Program has expanded its service area to include all camera-monitored freeways in Harris County, Bellaire, Jersey Village, La Porte, and Humble.

Tow and Go provides motorists with no-cost towing when their vehicle breaks down from mechanical failure (e.g., out of gas, overheating, flat tire) in the main lanes, shoulders, ramps or High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV)/High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes of freeways.

Check out these recent news stories on Channel 2 and on CW39 for more information about the expansion. If your vehicle breaks down in the Tow and Go service area, call 713-881-3333 for assistance. Service is available 24/7.

For more information about Tow and Go, including a list of FAQs and motorist guidelines, visit towandgo.com.
Hurricane Preparedness Resources for Coastal Residents and Special Needs Individuals
H-GAC wants to make sure everyone in the region is prepared for hurricane season.

Residents who live in an evacuation zone are encouraged to download a printed and digital copy of the 2020 hurricane evacuation map to help determine the best route for them and their families if they are called to evacuate.

Visit TogetherAgainstTheWeather.com for tool kits and strategies on preparing your home and family for a hurricane or severe storm. The page also contains helpful materials for those caring for small children, special need individuals, and those with health conditions.
TxDOT Accessibility Program Survey Available Until Sept. 30
2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Through its accessibility program, the Texas Department of Transportation is committed to ensuring that its programs, services, activities, and facilities are all inclusive, non-discriminatory, and fully accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities and stakeholders are invited to complete a survey to provide feedback on the agency's efforts, and to share their experiences using transportation services and visiting TxDOT facilities. The survey is available in English and in Spanish:


This survey will be open until Sept. 30, 2020.

For more information about the survey or about the accessibility program, contact Jannie Blackmon at 713-802-5008 or Jannie.Blackmon@txdot.gov.
Use Mobility Links to Find Free or Affordable Transportation Options in Your Community

Need help finding free or affordable transportation options in your community? Mobility Links is a user-friendly, one-stop search hub with directory information on hundreds of providers of medical transport, commute assistance, taxi and shuttle services, meals on wheels, and other essential mobility services for residents throughout the 13-county Houston-Galveston region.

Mobility Links can be used by anyone in need of transportation services and is especially suited for the elderly, persons with disabilities, and low-income families. Results can be broken down by county service area, service type, passenger type, and organization name, and include each provider's hours of operation, cost information, contact information, scheduling requirements, and more.
Visit www.h-gac.com/mobility-links to find a transportation provider in your community. If you're a new mobility service provider and would like to be added to our list of providers, email RidesCustSvc@csd.hctx.net.
Complete the U.S. Census by Sept. 30!
September is the final month for residents to complete the 2020 U.S. Census online. Complete the census in less than 10 minutes by going to 2020census.gov before the deadline on Sept. 30, 2020.

Census results show where communities need new schools, clinics, roads and other services benefiting families, older adults and children. They help decide federal funding for disaster recovery, mental health services, medical benefits programs, education programs and much more. When you’re counted in the census, you’re helping to build a better community and a stronger Gulf Coast region.  

The census is also available by phone and by mail in more than 13 languages. Say YES to Census 2020, and help us shape the next 10 years for the Gulf Coast region. You deserved to be counted!
Upcoming Meetings

Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 
9:30 - 11 a.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020
9:30 - 11 a.m.