With Dallas-Fort Worth ranked the fifth most congested area in the United States, students may have to put more thought into their methods of traveling and their impact on the environment.
DFW received its ranking from inrix.com. This website calculates a city’s traffic ranking by taking into account real-time data, a crowd-sourced network of over 4 million vehicles with GPS capabilities, traffic speed databases and other factors that impact traffic, such as construction and accidents. DFW came in No. 5, topped by Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Sociology Instructor Keith Whitworth said traffic had an impact on the environment. Traffic congestion increases ozone, which is bad for the quality of air.
“Transportation accounts for approximately 27 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.,” he said.
Dallas-Fort Worth’s traffic ranking came as no surprise to Michael Slattery , director of the Institute for Environmental Studies and professor in the School of Geology, Energy and the Environment.
Slattery said the population of the DFW area has grown, and traffic construction has simply not been able to keep up with it.
“Roads like Interstate 820 and Interstate 35 are simply under-designed,” he said.
TCU alumna Yulia Zavorina said she believed traffic in Dallas was worse than in Fort Worth.
“I used to work in Dallas in an internship over there, so usually it took me an hour and a half to get over there,” she said.
Zavorina also said the parking was more complicated in Dallas as opposed to Fort Worth. She said DFW should expand its highways, especially Interstate 30 and I-35.
People should carpool more often, Michael Matthis , a sophomore criminal justice major, said. Sometimes people take four or five cars to go to the same place.
“Pile into one or two cars and leave the gas for three other people,” he said.
Slattery also said students should think before they get in their cars.
“Is the journey really necessary? Can I share? Is there a T-bus nearby that I could use instead of driving?” he asked.
With the DFW area as congested as it is, TCU has made efforts to reduce its impact on the environment. Programs such as free passes to the T, TRE and the Purple Bike Program have all been used in order to counteract traffic, Whitworth said.
Whitworth also said that the university should adopt policies from other schools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Stanford does not allow freshmen to have cars. The University of Wisconsin – Madison and Georgetown University do not allow any cars on campus,” he said.
The university should also offer incentives for students not to bring their own cars to campus, Whitworth said. The school could create rewards for students, faculty and staff who drive hybrid or electric cars as well as use the T and TRE transport system.
Slattery said that although local officials are expanding roads and improving congestion, the air quality of the environment would likely remain the same or become worse. Public transportation is simply under-used, he said.