Transportation Throughout Texas
As the second-largest U.S. state in terms of both land area and population, Texas plays a significant role in the country’s identity and economy. People are always on the move in this bustling state, and they have a lot of transportation options to choose from. From carrying passengers and freight across miles of railroad track, to taking people through the air to other places inside and outside of the state, to receiving international cargo and visitors, the Texas transportation system keeps goods and services moving over land, air, and sea.
Transportation in Texas
Oversight of the transportation system in Texas is in the hands of the Texas Department of Transportation. This state government agency is responsible for crafting and implementing polices that provide for the building and maintenance of transportation systems that are safe, efficient, and reliable. In addition to overseeing the highway system in Texas, the Texas Department of Transportation also exercises a supervisory role in Texas aviation, Texas railways, and Texas public transportation solutions such as local rail systems and buses. The main office for the transportation department is found in the state’s capital, Austin, but satellite offices are found all across Texas.
Because the Texas transportation system is so large, there are numerous institutions and groups that are devoted to helping the state government improve the transportation infrastructure and to improving efficiency. One of the most significant of these organizations is the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, a research and training center that is based at Texas A&M University. Through studies and testing, the institute works to help the state address the most important transportation problems in Texas.
The scope of the Texas highway system is incredible. It has the greatest total number of miles of roads and highways in the country, and keeping up with this system is vital for the state economy. More goods are transported throughout the state via roads than any other means.
Historically speaking, the Bankhead Highway is among the most significant roads in Texas. The highway was opened in Texas in 1916, and it crosses the state from Texarkana to El Paso. Smaller branches of the highway connect other cities in the state. It should be noted that like all interstate systems, the Bankhead Highway is not exclusive to Texas. The entire road actually connects Washington, D.C., and San Diego. The longest stretch of interstate highway to pass through Texas is Interstate 10, which covers nearly 900 miles across the state from east to west. Interstate 45 connects Dallas, Houston, and Galveston, and thus, it is quite important for the state economy.
Texas ports represent entry and exit points for international trade and passenger traffic by sea, and Texas is home to one of the largest and busiest ports in the United States. The Port of Houston is the busiest port in the country for foreign shipping, and it ranks number 13 in the world in terms of port traffic. The fact that it is located in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States, accounts for its size and importance. The entire port is 25 miles in length, and it includes both public facilities and private entities such as independent shipping companies. Chances are good that much of what you regularly purchase enters the United States through the Port of Houston.
As one might expect given the size of its highway system, the Texas railroad system is also the largest in the United States in terms of total mileage. It contains more than 10,000 total miles of rails, and nearly nine million rail carloads move through the system every year. That volume of traffic ranks number two for rail systems in the United States.
The Texas State Railroad is a historic line that was first opened in 1881. It continues to be in use today for both commercial and passenger traffic. The total length of the rail line is 25 miles. This railroad, as well as all other railroads in Texas, is regulated by the Railroad Commission of Texas.
Texas Aviation and Airports
There are just more than three hundred public airports in Texas, which combined account for almost $9 billion worth of Texas economic activity. Most of the residents of Texas live 50 miles or fewer from a commercial airport, which makes air transportation easy and convenient within the state.
Most air traffic and cargo flows through the Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The airports in Houston are particularly important for travel to and from Latin America, as many flights coming into from or leaving the U.S. for that region pass through Houston’s airports.
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