North Texas has been growing in leaps and bounds for the past few years, and it’s not slowing down! At DART, we are working to make sure we have the transit infrastructure in place to support our region as it continues to grow at this breakneck speed.
Why is Growth Such a Big Deal?
What does a bigger population mean for North Texas? Population growth can and should be a positive—it brings greater investment in the region—driving a robust economy, enticing new businesses to set up shop, increasing job creation, spurring development, and improving the quality of our schools and social services. However, unmanaged growth can also overwhelm an area, leading to unemployment, overburdened schools and hospitals, and pockets of economic stagnation.
So how do we make sure North Texas’ growth is a good thing for everyone who lives here? We plan for it and build the infrastructure to support it. One big piece of the puzzle is mobility—making certain all those people can get where they need to go efficiently and cost-effectively, and commerce can flow smoothly around and through our region. That means we need a multi-modal system with accessible public transit that helps reduce congestion on our roads and gives people more options for getting to and from work, school, shopping, recreation, healthcare, and more.
How fast are we growing? According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the North Texas labor market adds 330 jobs every day. Companies are hiring (and searching) for skilled labor. As companies expand their workforces and continue to look for talent, they also are looking to expand their offices and access to their businesses. Many new hires want their offices to be located in mixed-use and walkable spaces, close to or with easy access to restaurants, shops, and gyms. Businesses must consider not just how much square footage they need, but also whether their facilities are close to or have public transit access.
Growth Spurs Change
In an area where sprawl used to be the key word, things are changing. As new professionals pour into the Dallas metro area, they are looking for better, easier access to their jobs AND their communities. According to brokerage professional Randy Cooper, “projects that have amenities and are near amenities are going to continue to lease the fastest and at the highest rates.”
DART keeps a close eye on how growth is happening, because we know that transit supports our region’s mobility and stimulates positive economic and community development. Without a cohesive public transit system designed to meet the wide range of transportation needs in our region, people would be restricted to car use, our roads would be more congested, and access to the region would be limited or slowed, impacting not just folks’ travel time, but the flow of commerce and economic growth as well. Construction and development professional Bill Penz of RPM xConstruction has commented that the longer trucks sit on the roads translates to more money and time lost for development projects. When DART and other community services, government agencies, and businesses come together to make sure this growth is supported, we can ensure an even brighter future for North Texas.
A Holistic View for a Comprehensive System
DART is always looking at our entire transit system, making sure we are investing in the right mobility solutions for all of North Texas, not just one community or another. Projects like D2, the downtown Streetcar, platform extensions, extended bus service, and the Cotton Belt each fill in one part of the puzzle, integrating with the bigger picture to keep North Texas moving forward. We are part of the larger fabric of our region and will continue to support the residents, students, and businesses that call North Texas home, new and old alike.