Fort Worth

FW Mayor Speaks on Panel on Innovation, Transit at National Tech Show

Mayor Betsy Price is at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

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Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price joined a panel of speakers at a massive show in Las Vegas Wednesday dedicated to technology and innovation.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is being held in Las Vegas through Friday. It drew more than 175,000 attendees in 2019. Price spoke specifically on the topic of mobility – how it looks globally and how it will change transit.

“People live in one area and work in another and we’re the fourth-largest metropolitan region now. It’s an ideal place to test some of these concepts," Mayor Price said. "Fort Worth, Arlington, the whole region, Dallas - it’s a great place. You’re in the hot bed for testing."

Concepts that have already been discussed include the use of drones and flying taxis. Price said the region plays an important role in testing aircraft and innovative technology.

“You’ve got the third-busiest airport in the world, you’ve got Alliance – which is an incredibly busy airport. Then you’ve got the joint base and you’ve got Lockheed Martin,” Price said. “You’ve got commercial airspace, you’ve got suburban airspace, you’ve got rural airspace – all right here. Very little other places does that exist in the same area.”

Tom Harris, president of Alliance Air/Aviation Services at Alliance Airport, was also at CES. The airport's next big project is to bring the Alliance Mobility Innovation Zone to life, he said.

They are currently in the "very early stages,” according to Harris.

“We’re in the midst of rolling it out, if you will. We expect over the 12 to 18 months to have a couple of those used cases in place that we can share and demonstrate with the public,” he explained. “North of the airport, for example, there’s a helicopter training facility that’s on the ground next to the speedway. We would perhaps go there and allow people like Bell and Hyundai and Uber to come use and experiment with and operate these new aircraft in certain corridors.”

While the future of transit remains to be seen, Price said the ongoing discussions are a big step.

“This is talking about a vision for the next 50 years. While we don’t know exactly how that vision is going to look, we’ve got to plant trees – as the old saying goes – in shades you’ll never sit under,” she said.

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