The REAL Plan
TxDOT's Houston District is developing a comprehensive plan entitled, The Regional Express Access Lanes Plan. The REAL Plan proposes an agile transportation system connected through mobility hubs that will mitigate some of the region’s most pressing mobility problems and be adaptable to future growth and innovation. REAL is more than just “express lanes” or “high occupancy vehicle” lanes; it’s an improved and scalable mobility concept that starts in your neighborhood and provides you, the user, a multimodal, interconnected transportation system to get you to your destination safer and more reliably. The REAL system will provide enhanced transportation choices and improved access to opportunities for the entire region, but especially for those that rely on public transportation mobility options.
A comprehensive plan is a wide-ranging, long-term statement of intent. This comprehensive plan is intended to provide a conceptual framework for an interconnected, inclusive multimodal ground transportation system. This REAL Plan considers how the region’s transportation system interacts (and will interact) with adjacent land use because transportation doesn’t exist for the sake of transportation, it exists to provide equitable, high-quality access to opportunities such as employment, commerce, education, and recreation. By its very definition, a plan is a statement of intent, not a guarantee of action. Implementation of a plan depends on periodic review of the assumptions and conditions that influence the plan and then adjusting the plan based on the new information.
The purpose of having a comprehensive transportation plan is to present a long-term vision for the future that shows how the transportation network will evolve over time to move people and goods. It includes system development concepts, goals, and objectives to be considered when developing and coordinating corridor level projects. The comprehensive plan also helps stakeholder agencies and local governments better understand the planned future of the State’s system thus enabling better coordination and collaboration between transportation entities.
The REAL Plan is in Phase 1 of development. In this phase, TxDOT is working with regional stakeholders and local governments to conceptualize improvement concepts and examine them through two committees. The Peer Review Committee is composed of local, national, and international experts in the fields of urban planning, architecture, transportation, and engineering that bring best practices that impact the project and provide valuable feedback regarding improvement concepts. The Policy Advisory Committee is composed of regional agency decision makers and elected officials that help to develop policies around The REAL Plan and provide guidance in the technical development of the Plan.
In general, the Phase 1 scope includes identifying concentrations of activity (including residential and employment), identifying hub typologies based on identified activity centers and land use, and connecting activity centers via a transport network. The scope and timing of Phase 2 is expected to be developed with input from the PAC.
The REAL Plan covers the six county Houston District service area, as well as Liberty and Chambers counties located in the Beaumont District service area. Collectively these eight counties are the Houston-Galveston Transportation Management Area.