Existing conditions regarding traffic, socio-economic and environmental aspects were analyzed in the study area. These include average traffic volumes, truck percentages, average traffic speeds and crash rates. Also presented are economic activity, county inflow/outflow and work destination analyses, trip origin and destination analyses and environmental constraints, as well as planned and programmed improvements.
Table of Content
Traffic volumes were obtained from the 2019 TxDOT Roadway Inventory. Reported as Annual Average Daily Traffic, abbreviated AADT, this is a measure used in transportation planning to describe the average number of vehicles on a roadway. Traditionally, AADT represents the total volume of vehicles of the year divided by 365 days.
The following observations were made regarding 2019 traffic volumes in the study area, as shown in the interactive map:
- AADT varied between 30,000 and 53,000 vehicles on I-30
- Traffic volumes on I-369 were around 30,000 vehicles
- Traffic volumes on US 59 decreased from 22,500 vehicles at the I-369/US 59 intersection to 15,000 vehicles close to the US 59/FM 2148 intersection.
- Traffic volumes on FM 2148, from US 59 to US 82, varied from 2,000 to 3,000 vehicles.
- Along US 82, traffic volumes varied from 12,000 vehicles close to I-369 to 4,000 vehicles close to I-30.
I-30 recorded the highest percentage of truck volumes, between 31.8% and 46.2% of AADT. Truck volumes along US 59 ranged between 18.7% and 23.1% of AADT, truck volumes on I-369 ranged between 13.8% and 15.6%, and truck volumes on US 67 and FM 2148 were around 3% and 5.7% of AADT, respectively.
Average Travel Speeds
Average travel speeds for weekday and weekends were calculated for the highway segments in the study area and contrasted to the corresponding speed limit. The aim is to establish which segments exhibit significant speed reductions due to congestion.
The speed analysis presented was based on data made available by INRIX, and contains information on both personal vehicles and freight truck movement. The original data was recorded from mobile phones, cars with GPS devices, trucks, delivery vans, and other fleet vehicles equipped with GPS locator devices. The data collected is processed in real-time 24 hours a day, creating traffic speed information for major freeways, highways, and arterials across North America. While data availability for this dataset is very broad, there are still some locations where data is not reported to accurately estimate speeds. Such is the case for several sections of US 82, US 67 beyond FM 2148, FM 989, and SH 8.
A comparison of the average speed and speed limits for each segment shows that most corridors have relatively high average speeds (i.e., close to the speed limits), suggesting that there is not much congestion on any of the major corridors, with a possible exception made for the US 67 corridor. Furthermore, there does not seem to be a temporal trend to the speeds – for each segment, speeds remain rather constant across all years, and for both weekdays and weekends.
Crash analysis is an essential component in safety analysis. It aims at distinguishing which segments exhibit the highest number of collisions, in addition to their severity. Crash data from 2015 to 2019 for Bowie County roads was obtained from the TxDOT Crash Records Information System. The analysis performed included classifying crashes by type and severity, identifying patterns and causes for the different types of crashes, calculating crash rates, defining hotspots, characterizing crashes within hotspots, and identifying crash contributing factors.
A total of 3,664 crashes were recorded along roads included in the analysis. I-30 recorded the highest number of crashes (1,230), followed by US 82 (591) and US 67 (584). US 59 recorded 363 crashes over the same five-year period. Most crashes were property damage only (PDO) crashes for which no passenger injuries were recorded. Access controlled roads, such as I-30, I-369, and SL 151, exhibit the highest percentage of PDO crashes. The highest percentage of fatal crashes is on SL 151, which also has one of the highest incidences of injury-inducing crashes, second only to US 67 and US 59.
CMV Involved Crashes
Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) crashes involve light trucks, single-unit trucks, tractor-trailers, semi-trailer trucks, buses, and other unknown heavy trucks. Of concern with CMV involved crashes is the average percentage of trucks on some of the roadways. I-369, I-30, US 59, SH 8, and SL 151 recorded a significant percentage of CMV-related crashes compared to the average truck percentages on those roadways. These percentages warrant further investigation of the frequency, location, environmental conditions, and contributing factors for CMV-related crashes along those routes.
- 1 out 4 crashes on I-30 involved a CMV
- On average, there were 64 CMV-involved crashes each year on I-30 from 2015 to 2019
- On average, there were 14 CMV-involved crashes each year on US 59 from 2015 to 2019
Crash rates were calculated to determine the relative frequency of crashes on a facility. Crash rates can be used to highlight locations with a high number of crashes in relation to vehicle miles traveled (VMT). The crash rates along the entire corridors are referred to as "crash rates along a corridor".
To better identify hotspots along each corridor, crash rates were also computed for each roadway segment by following the AADT segment breaks defined in the 2019 TxDOT Roadway Inventory File. The crash rates for the individual segments are referred to as "segment-level crash rates."
In both the corridor-level and segment-level analyses, changes in AADT affect the Daily Vehicle Miles Traveled (DVMT), which subsequently affect the crash rates.
Crash rates are computed by dividing the number of crashes in a given roadway segment by the roadway's vehicle miles travelled (VMT). Crash rates are typically represented in number of crashes by 100 million VMT. Finally, crash rates are compared to the statewide average crash rates.
There are locations along each corridor with crash rates greater than the crash rate of the entire corridor. These locations are of interest as they warrant further review with regards to potential safety improvements. Some of the hotspots identified within the potential improvement area and I-369 include:
- I-30 (and frontage roads) at I-369, FM 989, and Spur 74
- I-369 (and frontage roads) at US 82, and between US 67 and US 59
- US 59 from FM 2148 to I-369
- US 82 at Bowie Parkway, FM 2148, FM 989
- US 67 at FM 2148 and FM 989
This section presents the results of an economic profile analysis performed as part of the needs assessment. It discusses the region's gross domestic product, employment statistics, and current industry trends.
Gross Domestic Product
The total value of goods and services produced in a geographic area is known as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is an indicator of economic performance where growth in GDP indicates growth in the area's economy. GDP in the three counties increased between 2010 and 2018, despite a short-term decrease between 2013 and 2014. Bowie County experienced the highest growth rate from $3.5 billion in 2010 to $4.2 billion in 2018 (8.75%).
Labor force and employment data from January 2015 to August 2020 reported for counties in the region by the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) shows that of the three counties, Bowie County has the largest labor force and employees – twice that of Miller County and more than three times that of Cass County. Between January 2018 and December 2019, the three counties experienced notable growth in employment, 3.2% in Bowie County, 4.2% in Miller County, and 4.6% in Cass County.
In early 2020, employment rates decreased as unemployment rates increased due to state-wide issued restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19. Since the easing of restrictions during the summer period, the three counties show a recovery in unemployment rates, which decreased in August 2020 to 6.2% for Bowie County, 7.6% for Miller County, and 7.3% for Cass County.
Employment by Industry
However, not all industries are recovering from the impacts of COVID-19. For example, employment in freight-dependent sectors, such as manufacturing, transportation, wholesale trade, mining, logging, and construction industries, shows signs of recovery. However, the number of employees in these industries is still lower than their peak periods recorded in 2018 and 2019. Between March 2020 and August 2020, the leisure and hospitality industry lost 700 employees, the most reduction in all industries, and the retail trade industry gained 500 employees, the most increase in all industries.
County Inflow/Outflow and Work Destination Analysis
The county inflow/outflow analysis was conducted via Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) Data. The LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics (LODES) data series is one of the data sets produced by the U.S. Census Bureau for studying a local economy. The LODES data, which is accessible primarily via the OnTheMap application, helps users understand, analyze, and visualize where they work and where they live.
Commuter Inflow/Outflow Analysis
The total number of people employed in Bowie County in 2017 was 42,605, with 20,723 (48.6%) employed and living in Bowie County, and 21,882 (51.4%) employed in Bowie County and living elsewhere. The number of people who live in Bowie County but are employed elsewhere was 15,093, representing 42.1% of people with employment and live in Bowie County
Work Destination Analysis | Bowie County Residents
Further analysis of counties where workers living in Bowie County are employed is conducted. Results show that 20,723 (57.9%) workers live and work in Bowie County, and the remaining work in Miller County (10%), Dallas County (4.1%), Cass County (2.1%), Tarrant County (2.0%) and other counties (23.9%).
Work Destination Analysis | Cass County Residents
As for Cass County Residents, the the results show that 3,267 (33.9%) workers live and work in Cass County, and the remaining work in Bowie County (19.8%), Morris County (4.7%), Dallas County (4.5%), Miller County (3.5%) and other counties (33.5%).
Work Destination Analysis | Miller County Residents
For Miller County residents, the results show that 5,042 live and work in Miller County (32.3%), 5,975 workers work in Bowie County (38.3%) and the remaining work in Pulaski County (3.0%), Hempstead County (2.7%), Little River County (2.6%) and other counties (21.1%).
Density of Business Locations in Bowie and Cass Counties in 2017
The majority of businesses in the retail trade, health care, finance, accommodation, and other professional services were found to be located within the City of Texarkana, the City of Nash, and the surrounding environs. This illustrates that majority of work trips are destined for these locations.
Trip Origins and Destinations
To determine all the possible trips originating from or destined to the Red River Army Depot/TexAmericas Center area, US Census Traffic Analysis Zones (TAZ's) were used to define StreetLight/INRIX trip origins and destinations. Analysis on routes used by passenger vehicles and trucks to and from various locations was conducted for October 2019 and June 2020. These dates were selected to compare the region's economy during one of its strongest periods before the COVID-19 outbreak. Scroll through the slides to view the results of the analysis.
October 2019 Weekday Trips Originating from US 59 Northbound
Most trips originating from US 59 south of FM 2148 near the Cass County line heading northbound (labeled Origin) were destined for the northeast region of the study area, towards the City of Texarkana and Miller County. Only 1% of all vehicles using US 59 continued westward on I-30. Vehicles using FM 2148 accounted for 9% of trips traveling along US 59 northbound. In comparison, 64% of truck trips traveling northbound on US 59 continued eastward on I-30, and 18% continued on SL 151, with only 2% turning westward on I-30. Further investigation was done to explore the observed drop in northbound I-369 traffic from 47% to only 21% on I-30 east and west combined. It was determined that a cluster of industries that includes a medical center, located north and south of I-30 west of the I-30/I-369 interchange, is a major trip generator and attractor.
June 2020 Weekday Trips Originating from US 59 Northbound
Analysis for June 2020 returned similar results as of October 2019. Most trips traveling northbound along US 59 were destined to the City of Texarkana and Miller County, with 65% of truck trips continuing eastward on I-30 and 15% continuing on SL 151, and only 2% turning westward on I-30 and FM 2148. This illustrates that both passenger and truck trip distributions from US 59 before the COVID-19 lockdowns and the current COVID-19 recovery period are similar.
October 2019 Weekday Trips Destined for US 59 Southbound
When southbound US 59 was set as the destination,the results revealed that most trips destined for US 59 southbound originated either from I-30, I-369, or SL 151. The sudden change in traffic from I-30 (22%) to I-369 (57%) for all vehicles was further investigated. It was determined a cluster of industries located north and south of I-30 west of the I-30/I-369 interchange is the reason for this observation.
October 2019 Weekday Trips Originating from I-30 in Miller County
To further validate this finding, I-30 in Miller County was set as the origin and it shows the sudden drop in traffic from 66% on I-30 to 34% and 12% on I-30 West and I-369 South, respectively. Truck traffic, however, remained stable from 81% on I-30 from Miller County to 68% on I-30 West, and 18% on I-369 South. 16% of truck traffic from Miller County continued to US 59 southbound.
October 2019 Weekday Trips Destined for RRAD Personal Vehicle Gate
Additional StreetLight analysis was performed by the study team which shows that the percentage of traffic from US 59 to the Red River Army Depot/TexAmericas Center was significantly lower in comparison to traffic from I-30 east and west of the study area. Environmental constraints are analyzed to identify the potential impacts of transportation improvements to the environment and to communities already established in a specific area.
October 2019 Weekday Trips Destined for RRAD Commercial Vehicle Gate
Additional StreetLight analysis was performed by the study team which shows that the percentage of traffic from US 59 to the Red River Army Depot/TexAmericas Center was quite minimal in comparison to traffic from I-30 east and west of the study area.
October 2019 Weekday Trips to North through Bowie Parkway
Further analysis was conducted for alternatives to I-30. Bowie Parkway is a likely alternative route for commuters avoiding I-30.
This section presents findings regarding environmental constraints in the study area. Scroll through the slides to learn about the different types of constraints identified.
Most of the land surrounding the Red River Army Depot / TexAmericas Center / US Army properties is agricultural. On the eastern portion of RRAD there exists a tract of land designated to contain Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), that is weapons that did not explode when they were employed and still pose a risk of detonation.
Civic uses, which include places of worship, fire stations, police/sheriff stations, medical centers, schools are parks, are identified in the study area. This was conducted via Google Maps, ArcGIS Online search, Texas Education Agency, National Park Service and The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
There are 11 places of worship, 8 fire stations/departments, 4 police/sheriff stations, several medical centres and 14 schools in the study area.
The block groups with minority, low income, and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) populations were identified. Minority populations were identified based on the federal Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) guidance document Environmental Justice: Guidance Under the National Environmental Policy Act (CEQ 1997). Low-income populations were identified based on FHWA guidance document Order 6640.23A Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations (FHWA 2012). There are 22 Census Block Groups located in the study area. Data was gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 5 -year Estimates (2014-2018) to determine locations of minority and low-income EJ areas of concern.
In terms of minority population, five Block Groups have more than 50% of its population being from a race other than White Non-Hispanic or Latino. These Block Groups include: Block Group 4, Census Tract 109.02; Block Group 2, Census Tract 109.02; Block Group 3, Census Tract 111; Block Group 3, Census Tract 110; and Block Group 1, Census Tract 111. The Block Group with the highest percentage (70%) of minority population is Block Group 1, Census Tract 111. No Census Block Groups were identified in the study area with a reported median household income of less than $26,200. However, 14 Census Block Groups in the study area have more than 10% of its population reporting income below poverty level in the past 12 months (at the time when the data was gathered by the Census Bureau). Block Group 4, Census Tract 113 has the highest percentage (33%) of low-income population in the study area based on this parameter. In terms of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) population, two Census Block Groups in the study area have a greater than 5% LEP population: Block Group 1, Census Tract 111 and Block Group 5, Census Tract 110.
Cutlural resources, which include National Register of Historic Places, Texas Historical Markets and Cemetries, were identified.
- National Register of Historic Places – There is one National Register of Historic Places site (Historic Building) in the study area, and it is in the southern portion of New Boston. The Bowie County Jail (#770014290 was listed on November 16, 1977 and is part of the State Antiquities Landmarks (SAL) site).
- Texas Historical Markers – There are seven historical markers in the study area, most of which are located within community boundaries and along major highways. These markers include the following: Epperson's Ferry, Harrison Chapel Cemetery, and Maud United Methodist Church. The dataset for historical markers at Hooks, Nash, Old Boston, and at Redwater didn’t include specific names for these locations.
- Trammel's Trace Historic Trail – This is a historic route that provided a connection to Texas from the north. Trammel's Trace trail crosses the Potential Transportation Improvement Area in a northeast direction.
- Cemeteries – There are 36 cemeteries in the study area, with 17 of those being located in the Red River Army Depot / TexAmericas Center / US Army properties. Another five cemeteries are located close to the Nash and Wake Village communities. The remaining cemeteries are located throughout the study area.
Railroads and Pipelines
There are multiple railroad tracks in the study area which are owned by the Texas Northeastern Division and Union Pacific Railroad Company. These type of railroads include: industrial lead, main line, side track, and spur line. There are four main pipeline operators in the study area, which include Bayou Pipeline Corporation (B), Enable Gas Transmission, LLC., Midcoast Pipelines (E Tx) L.P., and Red Water Resources, Inc. The commodities being transported through these pipelines include crude oil and natural gas.
Potential Hazardous Materials Sites
The EPA maintains several hazardous materials databases to aid in hazardous materials site classification, prioritization, and cleanup. These lists include facilities that generate, store, transport, treat, and/or dispose of hazardous wastes and sites with reported hazardous substance releases or spills with varying degrees of risk. Potential Hazardous Material Sites in the study area are identified as follows:
- Industrial and Hazardous Waste Corrective Action (IHWCA) – There are seven sites of this type in the study area, three of which are located in the boundaries of the Red River Army Depot/TexAmericas Center/US Army properties. There are three other IHWCA sites located close to the intersection of US 82 and SH 8. The seventh IHWCA site is located east of FM 2148, close to Old Boston Road.
- Leaking Petroleum Storage Tank (LPST) – There are 77 LPST sites in the study area, many of which are located along major highways, and some are associated to gas stations/convenience stores. In addition, there are 32 Petroleum Storage Tanks (PST) sites located in the study area.
- Outfalls – There are five industrial/municipal wastewater outfalls located in the study area. Three of these sites are located in the boundaries of the Red River Army Depot / TexAmericas Center / US Army properties. The other two sites are located close to I-369 between US 82 and US 67, and close to I-30 in the City of Nash.
- Municipal Solid Waste Facilities – There is one facility located in the boundaries of the Red River Army Depot / TexAmericas Center / US Army properties in the study area.
Groundwater and Surface Water Wells
The Texas Water Development Board maintains a list of groundwater well sites throughout the state. This information is available for download in GIS format. There are 58 groundwater wells in the study area, with 19 wells being used for domestic purposes, 15 for public supply, 14 are unused and 6 are used for industrial purposes. The remaining wells are used for irrigation (1), aquaculture (1), or are plugged or destroyed (2). There are 70 surface wells located in the study area.
Major and Minor Streams
As for streams in the study area, the majority are classified as perennial (10), followed by streams classified as intermittent (7) and a few minor streams. The list of perennial streams includes: Rice Creek, Rock Creek, Big Creek, Panther Creek, Days Creek, Caney Creek, East Fork, Elliott Creek, Aiken Creek, and Spring Creek. Major streams classified as intermittent include: Panther Creek, Moss Creek, Panther Creek, Days Creek, Milan Creek, Aiken Creek, and Howard Creek.
Wetlands and Floodplains
Wetlands essentially are those “areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions [as defined by USACE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] (USACE 1987).” The wetland feature data for this study area was obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetland Inventory, which is a digital database. Most of the wetland features in the study area are classified as freshwater forested/shrub wetland, followed by freshwater ponds and riverine wetlands. Other wetland feature types include freshwater emergent wetland and lakes.
A floodplain is an area next to a creek, stream, or river that is naturally subject to flooding during heavy rain events. The 100-year floodplain is the land that is predicted to flood during a 100-year storm, which has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year. Areas in the 100-year floodplain may flood in much smaller rain events as well. The 100-year floodplain in the study area are designated as Zone A and are generally found near the creeks and intermittent streams discussed in the section above. The study area is crossed by floodplains in multiple locations, particularly between the Red River Army Depot / TexAmericas Center / US Army properties and the United States Army Corps of Engineers Wright Patman Lake. Smaller floodplains are located on the northern portion, which end shortly after crossing US 82. No acreage estimate was calculated for this analysis.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife’s online Natural Diversity Database was consulted for the list of Bowie County special-status species. There are 47 federal and state listed wildlife species in Bowie County, with 14 species listed threatened or endangered at the state or federal level.
Planned and Programmed Improvements
Planned projects are included in TxDOT’s Unified Transportation Program. The Unified Transportation Program (UTP) is TxDOT’s 10-year plan that guides the development of transportation work across the state. Planned projects might not have funds allocated while programmed projects have funding available for construction and have been assigned a tentative letting date. TxDOT’s Atlanta District has nine projects that will be completed in the next two decades, with some of them scheduled for or under construction at the time of this study. The total value of investments in the vicinity of the study area is $205.6 million (as of Summer 2020). The location of these projects was identified in the Planned & Programmed Improvements map.
Summary of Findings
- The highest traffic volumes of 53,000 vehicles per day were recorded at the intersection of I-369 and I-30. Traffic between the City of Nash and the western portion of the RRAD/TexAmericas Center/USACE properties also recorded traffic volumes as high as 40,000 vehicles per day.
- Traffic volumes on US 59 decreases from 22,500 vehicles at the I-369/US 59 intersection to 15,000 vehicles close to the US 59/FM 2148 intersection.
- Truck traffic from US 59 to I-30 through I-369 was found to be quite low at 500 vehicles per day. Majority of the trucks on US 59 continue unto SL 151 which recorded truck volumes greater than 1,000.
- A comparison of roadway segment peak traffic average speeds and their respective speed limits showed that most corridors have average speeds close to the speed limits, suggesting that there is not much congestion on any of the major corridors between US 59 and I-30.
- In 2017, 5,975 workers lived in Miller County and worked in Bowie County, and 5,042 lived and worked in Miller County. In comparison, 3,267 workers lived and worked in Cass County, and 1,915 lived in Cass County and worked in Bowie County.
- The majority of businesses are located within the City of Texarkana, the City of Nash, and the surrounding environs, which means that most work trips are destined for these locations.
- The percentage of traffic from US 59 to the RRAD/TexAmericas Center is quite minimal compared to traffic from I-30 east and west of the study area.
- More than 50% of truck trips traveling northbound on US 59 continued eastward on I-30 with only 2% turning westward on I-30.