Deep Dive with Michael Rogers
Michael Rogers, Transportation Director for the City of Dallas, joined the ABI team for a Deep Dive into the innovative thinking going on with modern city transportation.
When the City of Dallas asked Michael Rogers to come to Dallas and set up a new Department of Transportation, Rogers was enthusiastic.
“Dallas will have the first high speed rail in the country,” he said. “Not to mention all the other major multibillion dollar initiatives Dallas has planned. For me, it was easy to say, ‘I want to come.’”
The Effects of COVID-19
The advent of COVID-19 has had a dramatic effect on city transportation. “We’re going back to the fundamentals,” Rogers points out. “Walking. Biking. That’s something that’s really picked up. And we need to ensure that we have connections to all modes of transportation, that our infrastructure is done in the right place, that those trails take you to places you want to go. It doesn’t matter what mode you choose. We’ve got to make it so that every single user of the system is taken into account. We’re focusing on all people within our community and how to move people more effectively.”
While Public Works focuses on building and maintaining infrastructure, the Department of Transportation (DOT) looks more at mobility and its links to other things, like land use. “For example, when we develop parks, we want to ensure good access to housing with linkage to transportation and mobility,” he said. “We need to understand all of those linkages and plan for them. We make sure we’re aligning what we’re doing appropriately with other initiative we’re doing in the city. We have to have a roadmap and align all of these efforts.”
Undoing the Damage
“We need equity with what we do,” he continued. “We can bring opportunities for people in different areas. Consider the I-30 Freeway that dissected our Dallas community. How do we begin to bridge the gap between the two Dallases?” Rogers referred to DOT’s plans for connecting downtown with the Cedars with greenspace over I-30. “Opportunities like this are once in a lifetime. We’re going to make this community grow. It’s going to be an area that people are going to find very attractive.”
Rogers also spoke on the importance of building local consensus as DOT moves forward with its various initiatives. “We have strategic mobility advisory committees that bring together TxDOT, the North Texas Council of Governors, the school districts, the airports and so many other stakeholders. We’ve gathered their plans. We’re aligning all of our initiatives together. It’s important to work together.” And data plays a key role, he said. “When we do our projects, collect ongoing data was and is a significant part of pulling this altogether.”