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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
H-GAC Transportation Policy Council
by Jim Guidry
Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council on Friday voted unanimously to approve amendments to the 2011-2014 Transportation Improvement Program, the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan; and administrative amendments to the 2011-2014 TIP and the 2035 RTP. The actions included approval of two issues related to the FM 646 Project.

“This will allow us to move forward on 646 between I-45 and Highway 3,” said Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark. 
Listen:
MP3  RealPlayer

“It is scheduled to be let in July and construction will begin, based on the schedule, after that,” Clark said. “That is critical for the future growth of League City and Galveston County.”

Jeffrey Weatherford from the City of Houston Department of Public Works & Engineering, gave a presentation on a system to gather information on traffic patterns on city streets, based on Bluetooth technology that is prevalent in cell phones and other digital devices, which is being used in the West Houston Traffic Management Project.  Listen: MP3  RealPlayer

Weatherford said the goal was to achieve digital displays similar to those published on the TranStar web site for the Houston Freeway System. He said the system used by Transtar with EZ Card electronics would cost up to $90,000 per reading station. Another method utilizing license plate scanners would cost $50,000 per station. The Bluetooth reader stations cost only $1,000 per location.

He said the readers note the time and place of a Bluetooth device, then compares it to the time and place of the device a few minutes later.

“Since we know the distance between the different readers, we can calculate a speed,” he said.

Christy Willhite of the H-GAC staff presented a Regional Goods Movement Update.
Listen:
MP3  RealPlayer

“The movement of freight within our region affects every aspect of how we live, work and play,” Willhite said. “That is why the Houston-Galveston Area Council has undertaken the Regional Goods Movement Study.

Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority President and CEO George Greanias asked questions about the raw data in the study.

“That was actually purchased by H-GAC,” Willhite responded. “They have a license agreement and so there is some limitation on them actually being able to release the raw data.”

The answer didn’t sit well with Fort Bend County Commissioner James Patterson, who chairs the TPC.

“If this body can’t see the raw data, then don’t put this out for anybody to accept - It’s real simple.” he said, asking Greanias if he was stating it correctly.

“Eloquently, Mr. Chairman,” Greanias responded.

All action items on the agenda were approved unanimously. Agenda




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