Texas Clear Lanes Project: Clearing the way to prevent deaths on the highway

The good news for people living in Texas is that the state’s economy is strong, with unprecedented growth over the past few decades. Texas’s strong economy has led to an explosive growth in the state’s population, however, with an estimated increase of 1,000 people per day (according to an estimate by the Texas Clear Lanes project).

With the increasing population, it is natural that there will be a correlated increase in the number of vehicles on the road, leading to additional congestion in some of the state’s already crowded roadways. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Dallas/Fort-Worth metroplex, which already gives drivers frequent headaches during the morning and evening rush hour periods specifically.

The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), sponsored by Texas A&M, found that the number of registered vehicles in the state increased by 172% in the past 40 years, while the state’s highway capacity has only increased by a paltry 19%. It is clear that the roadways in Texas are not fit to handle the stress and strain of such explosive traffic growth, and when congestion and overcrowding occurs, serious accidents involving injury and wrongful death are sure to follow.

The biggest cities in Texas: Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin contain more than 65% of the state’s population and are (unsurprisingly) home to 97 of the “Top 100 most congested roadways” in Texas.

These serious congestion issues directly correlate with an increase in accidents and wrongful deaths on the state’s roadways. While there are not always easy answers to growth like this, there are solutions that can be put in place to help alleviate the number of accidents. While more construction and additional roads may be one solution, that is a costly answer that is not always feasible. Some of the alternatives proposed by the Texas Clear Lanes Project include:

  • Commuting Alternatives – Businesses and workers may be able to find solutions to commuting including incentives, ridesharing, and other solutions to move traffic off the roadways at the busiest times.
  • Telecommuting – Companies are encouraged to let their employees work from home (when applicable and sensible) to lower the number of vehicles on the road, especially during the busiest commuting hours.
  • Alternate work hours – Maybe everyone doesn’t have to work 8:00 – 5:00? If possible, consider opening up your work shifts to allow for later starts or earlier releases for some employees.
  • Mass-transit incentives – Offering employees cash incentives or subsidies to take mass-transit alternatives or ride-sharing may be an effective solution for removing vehicles from the state’s roadways.
  • Health and Fitness programs – If your business is in a busy metro area or if your employees live relatively close to work, it might be a good idea to implement a health and wellness initiative to encourage them to walk or bike to work.

By implementing new strategies and incentives, businesses may be able to help their employees stay off the roadways during the busiest hours and may be able to lower the level of congestion in traffic in our state’s roadways. Whatever steps are taken ultimately may mean the difference between serious accidents and headaches in traffic moving forward.