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Saturday, March 6, 2021

AllianceTexas to create innovation zone for next generation mobility and transportation

AllianceTexas, a model for multimodal transportation-based master-planned developments, is taking a step to become a site for cutting-edge mobility development .

Hillwood plans to collaborate with its anchor corporations, future customers, policy makers, regulators, entrepreneurs, and academic institutions to develop a first-of-its-kind Mobility Innovation Zone for partners to develop, test, scale, and commercialize advanced mobility technology and business models.

“Dallas-Fort Worth is regarded as one of the world’s premier transportation hubs, and for the last 30 years AllianceTexas has played a significant role in the region’s growth and success,” said Ross Perot Jr., chairman of Hillwood, developer of AllianceTexas. “With more than 500 corporations in residence at AllianceTexas, including many of the world’s leading transportation and logistics companies, the development continues to be an epicenter of growth and ingenuity that will provide top innovators with everything they need to succeed, from transportation infrastructure to world-class amenities, and access to a highly skilled workforce.”

Hillwood has engaged Deloitte’s Future of Mobility Global Practice team to develop the strategic direction, business model and operating platform for the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone. Through this collaboration, AllianceTexas will lead the nation in smart infrastructure and serve as a convening place for stakeholders throughout the innovation lifecycle.

“Deloitte’s work with Hillwood to develop a transportation innovation sandbox underlies our commitment to convening an ecosystem to build the Future of Mobility at AllianceTexas,” said Scott Corwin, managing director and Global Future of Mobility Practice Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “AllianceTexas offers a unique platform to test and scale integrated mobility solutions – both on the surface and in the air. Beyond our role in developing the initiative with Hillwood, Deloitte professionals will have exposure to this effort, since our national leadership center – Deloitte University, where we grow the world’s best leaders and incubate idea generation and breakthrough thinking – is located at AllianceTexas.”

Hillwood will bring to the table its partnership with Uber Elevate, which also includes Bell as a partner. Hillwood is currently developing the North Texas infrastructure platform for Uber Elevate’s Skyports. Construction has already begun on the first Skyport in North Texas located at Hillwood’s Frisco Station, a 242-acre mixed-use development in Frisco, with plans to incorporate AllianceTexas into the system of Skyports in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. By launching the Skyport infrastructure platform, Frisco Station and AllianceTexas will serve as testing grounds for the future of aviation mobility technologies and set the standards needed for new airspace regulations.

“We are proud of the relationship we’ve built with Hillwood and all the unprecedented opportunities that come from working with a leading developer with like-minded views,” said Wyatt Smith, head of Business Development for Elevate at Uber. “At more than 26,000 acres, including direct access to Fort Worth Alliance Airport and the region’s vast array of airports and transportation hubs, AllianceTexas offers a big canvas to develop, test, and refine our advanced mobility technologies to create next-generation transportation options for the growing population of Dallas-Fort Worth.”


AllianceTexas is Hillwood’s 26,000-acre master-planned development and inland port north of Fort Worth, which is home to Fort Worth Alliance Airport, BNSF Railway’s Alliance Intermodal Facility, FedEx Southwest Regional Sort Hub, Amazon Air’s newest regional air hub, and more than 500 global and regional brands.

Home to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Southwest Regional Headquarters, AllianceTexas offers a fully integrated testbed unlike anything else in the country with direct access to the aforementioned inland port anchors, as well as a FedEx Ground Sort Hub, two UPS Sort Hubs, major corporate anchors including Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab, and over 162 miles of major arterial, state and federal highway systems. By providing the infrastructure for multi-modal transportation, AllianceTexas is positioned to support the testing of innovative aerial and surface technologies to move both freight and people within a self-contained environment, according to a Hillwood news release.

“Creating the Mobility Innovation Zone is the next step in the natural evolution of AllianceTexas,” said Mike Berry, president of Hillwood. “With a solid transportation foundation already in place and our knowledge of new technologies being developed for the future of mobility, AllianceTexas is the perfect location for the first fully integrated mobility testbed. Our team is proactively working with customers and regulatory agencies to form strategic coalitions to lead the nation in smart infrastructure deployment.”

Among its 500+ corporate residents, AllianceTexas has attracted some of the world’s most globally recognized transportation and logistics brands, all of whom are exploring new technologies for freight mobility. Initially, AllianceTexas will foster innovation across the supply chain from the intermodal hub to distribution centers and finally end-users, ultimately driving the automation process. Using the existing infrastructure at AllianceTexas, each of these movements can be tested and eventually integrated using autonomous vehicles and technologies.

The technology platforms being integrated at AllianceTexas will enable innovative transportation solutions to develop stronger, faster, more reliable connections among devices and applications. Hillwood has been a national pioneer in bringing the latest mobility technologies to the general public, leading an initiative to create a collaborative partnership to tackle mobility challenges and improve connectivity in and around Frisco’s North Platinum Corridor, which led to the launch of the first pilot program in Texas to have on-demand, self-driving cars on public roads.

Investing in robust technology, Hillwood is working with AT&T to replicate its current 5G Evolution model being used at Hillwood’s Frisco Station development into the AllianceTexas platform, which will include adding wireless stealth micro cells, ultra-fast internet infrastructure, and robust Wi-Fi. In addition to its existing relationships with leaders in innovative mobility, Hillwood is also working with regulatory agencies to strengthen the evolution of transportation both on the surface and in air space. This collaborative approach will help define smart roadway infrastructure standards, enable autonomous vehicle movements on state and local roadways, and create industry standards for drones (UAVs) and vertical take-off and landing (VTOLs) aircraft to operate in an urban airspace environment.

Initially, two primary use cases are being developed for the launch of the Mobility Innovation Zone. A surface freight mobility program for IoT-enabled shipping containers to move within the AllianceTexas platform via autonomous trucks along a “smart road system” will allow retailers, consumer goods companies and other corporate partners to increase their supply chain efficiency. The second use case is centered around the establishment of an aerial proving ground that will allow drone and VTOL use case applications to be tested and ultimately integrated into the National Airspace System (NAS). Both use cases are designed to be scalable for maximum impact.

“Given the unique opportunity Hillwood has enjoyed over the last 30 years in developing transportation focused real estate projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, and working with global leaders in transportation and logistics such as BNSF Railway, FedEx, UPS, Amazon, Uber, Bell, and many others, we believe the time is now to establish AllianceTexas, and ultimately the Dallas-Fort Worth region, as the Center of Innovation for The Future of Mobility,” said Berry.

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