DART regularly studies the North Texas area and determines what areas would be viable options to consider implementing regional transit infrastructure, such as the Cotton Belt or the D2 Subway. These areas are called potential transit corridors. They are generally linear areas that can be made better with enhanced transit choices.
How DART evaluates corridors in the 2040 Plan
There are many factors to consider when identifying potential public transit corridors. And, it can take years to advance a major project. That’s why DART thinks about them far in advance when proposing potential larger transit projects.
How does DART choose? Great question! With so many ideas for expansion, DART undertakes a Corridor Screening Process. Using a range of criteria that are important locally or used by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DART evaluates alternatives to find those with the highest potential. Below are just a few of the evaluation criteria DART has when screening potential transit corridors:
- Ridership Potential
- All corridors should possess the ability to draw in and serve a substantial population.
- Cost is a factor DART considers when building new transit project. Making sure we balance cost with benefits keeps our transit system effective and sustainable.
- Transit Competitiveness Index
- Transit planners use this tool to understand where transit would be most competitive and to help determine how to allocate resources and service.
- Population Density
- Current and future population is important since that is where we draw our ridership from. Understanding where people live and how they would benefit from transit is important when considering new corridors.
- Employment Density
- Businesses of all sizes set up shop in North Texas. But how can we ensure that the transit infrastructure is in place to serve these workforce centers? Understanding employment density is critical as part of transit’s role is delivering residents to jobs and enhancing their job opportunities.
- Right-of-Way Availability
- Is there space for a new corridor? What is traffic like near a potential corridor? Is there space in the street or existing rail? These questions must be answered as DART maps out new public transit corridors.
- Engineering Complexity
- Different corridors can present a diverse set of engineering challenges. Soil, geography, underground utilities and above ground structures can present obstacles when building public transit projects.
- Land Use/Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Potential
- Attractive transit corridors have an opportunity for development opportunities. Transit can drive new investments and mixed-use areas where people can live, work, and play.
- DART considers the environment and surrounding community when evaluating a potential transit corridor. DART seeks to find corridors where transit can fit seamlessly into the surrounding landscape and community.
- Public/Agency Support
- Collaboration among the public and DART is paramount when choosing a new transit corridor. Ideal transit corridors are those that best balance everyone’s interests and brings the greatest amount of benefit.
A map of initial corridor alternatives evaluated by DART is below.
Thinking ahead with expansion in mind
A strong inter-connected multi-modal system will allow North Texans to move flexibly and comfortably around the region. Mapping out corridors will help DART and local communities remain mindful and thoughtful as we plan ahead and think about how transit can help shape the continued growth of our region.