Mobility Innovation Zone: AllianceTexas Developer Announces Plans for the Future

Dallas-based Hillwood plans to turn its vast acreage in Fort Worth and Denton County into a place called the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone. There, new transportation technologies can be developed and deployed—from autonomous cars and trucks to high-flying drones and air taxis.

mobility innovation zone

AllianceTexas may be turning 30 years old this year, but its 26,000 acres of master-planned space will be leading North Texas and the nation forward with the development of futuristic ground and air transportation technologies.

The developer, Dallas-based Hillwood, announced that it wants to turn the vast spread into an “AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone” to develop and deploy new transportation technologies, from autonomous cars and trucks to high-flying drones. Hillwood intends to leverage the development’s national prominence and name to create a cutting-edge center of innovation and a global catalyst for the future of mobility. 

mobility innovation zone

Major points of AllianceTexas are identified in this aerial photo. [Photo: Courtesy Hillwood]

“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,” Hillwood Chairman Ross Perot Jr. said in a statement. “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.”

AllianceTexas has more than 160 miles of major roads and federal and state highways, giving plenty of space to test autonomous cars and trucks. Its vast sky will accommodate the latest technology in autonomous aviation, too. The development is an inland port and is home to Fort Worth Alliance Airport, BNSF Railway’s Alliance Intermodal Facility, FedEx Southwest Regional Sort Hub, Amazon Air’s new regional air hub, and more than 500 global and regional brands.

mobility innovation zone

Hillwood has roughly 500 corporate partners in AllianceTexas. [Photo: Courtesy Hillwood]

Hillwood said it plans to collaborate with future customers, policymakers, regulators, entrepreneurs, academic institutions, and its anchor corporations to develop a first-of-its-kind mobility innovation “do-tank” where they can develop, test, scale, and commercialize advanced mobility technology and business models. The intent is for AllianceTexas to become a national leader in smart infrastructure and serve as a convening place for stakeholders throughout the innovation life-cycle.

Deloitte’s Future of Mobility Global Practice team has been hired by Hillwood to develop the strategic direction, business model, and operating platform for the zone.

“AllianceTexas offers a unique platform to test and scale integrated mobility solutions—both on the surface and in the air,” said Scott Corwin, managing director and global future of mobility practice leader at Deloitte Consulting LLP. “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.”

AllianceTexas also is home to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Southwest Regional Headquarters.

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Hillwood called AllianceTexas a fully-integrated testbed that’s unique in the nation with its direct access to inland port anchors, but also with a FedEx Ground Sort Hub, two UPS Sort Hubs, and major corporate anchors, including Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab.

And, according to Hillwood President Mike Berry, creating the Mobility Innovation Zone is AllianceTexas’ next step in its natural evolution.

AllianceTexas offers a ‘big canvas’ for developing, testing, refining tech

Hillwood is no stranger to innovative transportation technologies.

The company has partnered with several entities on other transportation options, like in developing the North Texas infrastructure platform for Uber Elevate’s Skyports. Construction is underway on the first Skyport in North Texas at Hillwood’s Frisco Station, a 242-acre mixed-use development in Frisco. There are even plans to incorporate AllianceTexas into the system of Skyports in Dallas-Fort Worth.

mobility innovation zone

AllianceTexas is an intermodal linchpin of North Texas. [Photo: Courtesy Hillwood]

“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,” Wyatt Smith, head of Uber’s business development for Elevate, said in a statement.

Hillwood is also working with Dallas-based tech giant AT&T to replicate its current 5G Evolution model being used at Hillwood’s Frisco Station development into the AllianceTexas platform. The system will include adding wireless stealth micro cells, ultra-fast internet infrastructure, and robust Wi-Fi.

Hillwood also said it also is working with regulatory agencies to strengthen the evolution of transportation both on the surface and in the air. By taking a collaborative approach, it will help define smart roadway infrastructure standards, enable autonomous vehicle movements on state and local roadways, and create industry standards for drones and vertical takeoff and landing aircrafts to operate in an urban airspace environment.

Two main use cases set for launch in Mobility Innovation Zone

Two primary use cases are being developed for the launch of the Mobility Innovation Zone, Hillwood said. 

First, a surface freight mobility program for IoT-enabled shipping containers to move within AllianceTexas on autonomous trucks. Via a “smart road system,” consumer goods companies, retailers, and Hillwood partners will be able to increase their supply chain efficiency.

The second use case revolves around the creation of an aerial proving ground, where drone and vertical takeoff and landing use case applications can be tested and integrated into the National Airspace System.

“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,” Berry said, “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.”

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