The TxDOT Update
News and Information from the Texas Department of Transportation

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Work with others to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas.

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In this issue

  • Transportation Commission Approves Additional Left-Lane Truck Restrictions
  • Safety Bling! Video Wins Telly
  • Rail Division Director Glavin To Retire
  • Talk. Text. Crash.
  • Cost Savings: Portable Traffic Signals
  • TxDOT Podcast: The Netherlands' Smart Highway Project
  • Small Hr


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April 29, 2013

Here's our roundup of Texas Department of Transportation news and events. If you have any questions, comments or just want to know more about something you read here, send a message to

Transportation Commission Approves Additional Left-Lane Truck Restrictions

In an effort to improve roadway safety and reduce crashes and lane changes, the Texas Transportation Commission has approved left-lane truck restrictions on an additional 78 miles of state highway along US 77, US 83 and US 281 in Cameron and Hidalgo counties. The measure brings the statewide total to 443 miles where trucks cannot drive in left lanes on roadways in 14 counties. The Commission took the action at its April 25 regular monthly meeting. In other business, the Commission:

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Safety Bling! Video Wins Telly

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The Rhymanese Twins rap about bicycle safety in award-winning video.

A TxDOT-funded music video, Safety Bling! featuring comic rap duo the Rhymanese Twins spreading the word about bicycle safety, recently won a Bronze Telly in the 34th Annual Telly Awards. The nonprofit education group BikeTexas produced the video with a grant from TxDOT's Traffic Safety Program and guidance from the department's Bicycle and Pedestrian Section. The video was shot on location in Austin and College Station by TxDOT's Media Production Section and includes a supporting cast of University of Texas and Texas A&M University students.

The video's message ─ wear a bicycle helmet and use lights when you cycle at night ─ is important because Texas has the third highest number of annual bicyclist fatalities in the U.S., with the majority of those occurring in urban areas. BikeTexas uses the video in its bicycle and pedestrian safety outreach campaign at Texas colleges and universities.

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Rail Division Director Glavin To Retire

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Bill Glavin

TxDOT Rail Division Director Bill Glavin plans to retire at the end of June. Glavin became the agency's first Rail Division Director in 2009 following a 32-year career in the rail industry — including stints with Burlington Northern Railroad and North American RailNet — to shape the future of the state's rail service. Under Glavin's leadership, the state has identified solutions for improved safety at rail crossings; funding was secured to upgrade the Texas-owned South Orient Railroad corridor between Brownwood and San Angelo; and progress has been made on efforts to relieve congestion at the Tower 55 rail intersection near downtown Fort Worth. In addition, the state has moved forward on a proposal to move Amtrak onto the Trinity Railway Express line in Dallas-Fort Worth, and a study of higher speed rail service between Brownsville and Oklahoma City is underway.

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Talk. Text. Crash.

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With distracted driving causing thousands of crashes each year, TxDOT and its safety partners around the state urge drivers to refrain from cell phone use and texting while on the road. TxDOT statistics show that more than 90,000 crashes in 2012 involved distraction in a vehicle, driver inattention or cell phone use. Of these crashes, 453 were fatal. Overall, nearly one in four crashes on Texas roadways involves driver distraction.

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Cost Savings: Portable Traffic Signals

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Using portable traffic signals at work sites saves money and improves roadway safety.

A pilot program by TxDOT's Brownwood District has identified $315,000 in annual cost savings by using portable traffic signals instead of flaggers to alert motorists of roadway work sites. TxDOT has collaborated with the Federal Highway Administration and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to identify safe methods for expanding the use of the portable signals and automated flagger assistance devices across the department. This is just one example of how TxDOT collaborates with transportation partners to enhance the safety of the work site, maximize the efficient use of agency resources and increase productivity.

Read more about TxDOT cost savings achievements »

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TxDOT Podcast: The Netherlands' Smart Highway Project

The weekly TxDOT Podcast keeps you updated on the latest transportation news and issues, and new episodes are published every Friday on the TxDOT website,

They say necessity is the mother of invention, but it's also the mother of innovation. Faced with an energy crunch on top of budget cuts, municipal governments in the Netherlands have begun saving tax dollars by cutting back on measures like keeping street lights lit at night. And while the street lights might have been switched off, Daan Roosegaarde, a Dutch artist and innovator, and owner of Studio Roosegaarde, switched his creativity on and began work on his "Smart Highway Project." In this week's episode, we talk with Roosegaarde about his work. (This episode originally aired in January 2013.) Episodes are also available on iTunes.

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