Quick test: How many people currently live in the DFW area and how many do you think will live here in 2040? To get a frame of reference: New York City’s population is about 8.4 million, Los Angeles County about 9 million, and Greater Houston area over 6 million. So, what’s our number?
Our current population is around 7 million people and is estimated to be about 10 million people by 2040 according to the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG). Considered the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country, the DFW area is growing fast in a diversity of industries from Fortune 500 companies to several universities.
It’s not just North Texas that is growing in size, overpopulation is a worldwide phenomenon. Population Media Center (populationmedia.org) works internationally and has a chapter right here in our area to empower and educate people on the social and environmental impacts that arise from overpopulation issues. A growing population will put even more stress on our resources, especially water in North Texas, agriculture and transportation. In North Texas, it’s estimated our population grows by about 1,000 people per day, forcing us to plan how to resolve issues created from overpopulation.
The DFW roads already have a lot of traffic; it’s hard to imagine more people on our highways. And unfortunately, as Kendall Wendling, senior transportation planner for NCTCOG said in a recent presentation, “We can’t build our way out of congestion. The daily commute will always be tedious and full of traffic.” Most of our urban development is low density housing, forcing people to commute by car, adding more traffic to our roads.
But we can plan ahead and try to improve our transportation conditions. The NCTCOG is currently working on a long-term transportation plan, titled Mobility 2040, that “defines a vision for the region’s multimodal transportation system and guides expenditures of state and federal transportation funds during the next 20 plus years.”
Mobility 2040 is the long-range metropolitan plan for the multiple transportation uses in North Texas (cars, light rail, trains, bikes) aimed to relieve congestion, improve quality of life, and increase mobility and accessibility. The previous long range plan, Mobility 2035, called for $94.5 billion in transportation improvements including 2,200 new road miles, 500 miles of passenger rail and supported off-street bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Mobility 2040 is also looking to solve the “First mile, Last Mile Connections” to make better connections at the local level in between public transportation and your house and place of work, giving people another transportation solution. Several areas and commuters will benefit from small additions to make their workplace or home easily accessible by public transportation. The NCTCOG office is located in Arlington, currently not accessible to commute by public transportation forcing employees to drive, this should push the First Mile, Last Mile Connection to be a top issue resolved.
NCTCOG is currently seeking your input for what you want to see in the future of transportation in the area.
“Hearing what’s important to people is important for us in determining what goes into this plan,” Chad McKeown, Program Manager at NCTCOG said. There is a quick, six question online survey you can take at nctcog.org/survey2040 to express your valuable opinion. Currently a little over 2,300 people have taken the survey, and in an area of over 7 million, more of our voices need to be heard.
As NCTCOG continues the process of creating Mobility 2040 there will be more options for public participation. Visit nctcog.org/trans/outreach/involve to sign up for NCTCOG newsletters, and follow them on social media for public meeting notices, information and more opportunities for involvement.
Overpopulation is a huge issue everywhere in the world. Successful cities will come up with creative sustainable solutions that serve the community while also having a smaller impact on the environment. Your opinions and ideas could just be the creative solution we as a community need to create a comprehensive plan that values our health and the environment.
As seen in the Katy Trail Weekly.