Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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governmentUse Texas Government Tech Solutions to Jump-Start Your Vacation

March 2024 | by Kelly Langford

Texans love to hit the open road.

The state maintains more than 80,900 miles of them to explore. If you’re looking for wildflowers, embarking on an adventure or planning a staycation, state agencies have invested in digital tools to help plan a worthwhile and safe experience.

Take the Scenic Route Safely

The Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) site steers travelers in the right direction. Motorists can use this mobile-friendly website to check for closures, highway crashes, construction zones and other hazards on TxDOT roads — more miles of motorways than any other state in the union, by the way. The site also highlights safe rest stops and picnic areas, often perched among spectacular views. TxDOT personnel monitor information to ensure it is timely and accurate, and its map refreshes every five minutes, making it a reliable source for real-time road conditions. Users also can toggle on a Google Maps overlay to help them avoid traffic jams. Drivers who are curious about road conditions also can call an automated 24-hour helpline at 800-452-9292. Pro travel tip: Vacationers who call that number between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. can connect with one of TxDOT’s professional travel counselors or trained volunteers any day of the week. These experts offer a wealth of knowledge about fun things to do on any road trip. debuted in 2012 and has been a popular resource during extreme weather events, with more than a million hits during January’s winter storm. The site averages around 3.5 million sessions annually, but big swings in analytics are dependent on that year’s weather events. Road conditions are shared with Waze and Google maps.

Analytics for
Winter Storm January 20241,050,821
Winter Storm February 20221,103,434
Winter Storm Uri 20213,613,903
Hurricane Harvey 20175,142,227

Source: TxDOT

Life’s a Beach

The Gulf Coast is always a hot spot for fun, and Texas offers more than 360 miles of shoreline, most of it open to the public. Summer is a busy season for the folks at the Texas General Land Office (GLO), which manages two interactive websites. Texas Beach Watch is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-funded tool that shares vital safety information about Texas’ recreational beaches. Every two weeks, GLO posts results gleaned from more than 160 testing stations that analyze Enterococcus bacteria levels from fecal waste in that area. Those results are posted along within green, yellow or red location pins that list the levels and level of concern. GLO will issue an alert if a swimming advisory is warranted. On a more fun note, the Texas Coasts app helps people find the perfect pier, seaside park, boat ramp, dock or launch, and each location pin on its map expands to share details about activities at that site. Find wildlife viewing, jet ski rentals, food, parking and other amenities.

Find Your Missing Treasure

Scouring a beach with a metal detector is an iconic vacation image, but it requires work, time and expensive equipment. Luckily, some treasure hunts require none of the above. You can search for treasure right on your computer — with no need for sunscreen — using the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts’ unclaimed property search at

Texas currently holds more than $8 billion in cash and other valuables in unclaimed property, and the average value of an approved claim is more than $1,000. That kind of money can be a nice deposit into the family vacation fund.

Search for yourself. Search for relatives. Search for neighbors. After your staycation treasure hunt, you might just be the most popular person on your block.

Open Data Tools Shine

Let’s talk about some symbolic sunshine this season, too. The Comptroller’s office maintains a wealth of tools that shine a light on how Texas spends taxpayers’ money, aggregating and making available a treasure trove of useful data. Want to learn more about how your local economic development team works? Check out a dashboard displaying information about revenues, expenditures and what percentage of that office’s objectives are being met. Want to see how state agencies are funded and how they spend public money? Another dashboard lets you select and sort the information easily.

We’re all in on transparency: The Comptroller’s office even awards Transparency Stars to local governments for going above and beyond in their transparency efforts and to reward their hard work demonstrating accountability. More than 400 have been awarded to government entities that follow best practices in finances, procurement and debt obligations. The program has been revamped with a streamlined application process, and a new star category has been added for recognition: public meetings and reporting compliance.

History at Your Fingertips

Add education to your vacation! The Texas Historical Commission (THC) offers guides and mobile apps to create an authentic Texas experience. Download THC’s official (and free) app, Texas History Navigator, from the App Store or Google Play, and you’ll get a comprehensive guide to historic sites, restored county courthouses and heritage museums. Toggle on the app’s historical marker option and spot more than 16,000 signs posted at the real places where notable events took place. Each entry includes an address and summary of its history. The app also lets you add sites to a travel planner to create an agenda for your trip. You’ll never drive by a historical marker or site and wonder about its story again.

Another fun app from THC can be accessed through its website: Texas Time Travel gives you a selection of mobile tours with thematic itineraries, complete with videos and audio guidance, which tell stories about the Texas Revolution, Chisolm Trail, old Bankhead Highway, Hispanic or African American history, German immigration and more. Pick one that piques your interest and hit the trail.

See Texas with Fresh Eyes

Texans love to travel around their grand state, and people from throughout the U.S. and world visit too, drawn by Texas’ rich history and diversity. The travel industry is an important part of the Texas economy, bringing $91.7 billion in direct spending in 2022. That’s where comes in. Maintained by the Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism, the useful site showcases the best of Texas to potential travelers and includes fun and meaningful #TexasToDos for every kind of interest. Looking for a place to experience the total solar eclipse? Travel Texas illustrates its path across the state with links to viewing information, parks and other resources. Looking for fun things to do this summer? Explore museums, parks and historic sites within your community or region. It’s good for the economy and good for the soul. Live like a tourist, and you’ll love where you live.  

Take Care of Car Business – Texas Style

The IT wizards at Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) rolled out a useful smartphone app a couple of years ago that makes it easy to keep your records road-trip ready. Texas by Texas, or just TxT, accessible through, lets Texans transact with several state agencies in one secure, user-friendly place. More than 7 million Texans use various devices to renew or replace their driver licenses or ID cards or pay for annual vehicle registrations. DIR is working to add new services to the app, too: like occupational license renewals. Meanwhile, at, Texas residents can access vital records like birth, death and marriage certifications, along with driver services and other helpful resources.

If you have a Texas-issued driver’s license or identification card, you can create a TxT or profile, which generates a personal dashboard linking to your accounts and records of online transactions. Even better, you’ll get a reminder when a renewal is due. Your dashboard is accessible through a web browser or the free app.