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Active Transportation Routes to Rail

Purpose:    The Active Transportation Routes to Rail study is an update to the 2003 Access to Rail study performed by the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG). Using 2013 data related to existing and planned sidewalks, trails, and bikeways, the Active Transportation Routes to Rail study examines walking and biking routes within a one-half mile radius of the existing 74 light rail and commuter rail stations in the Dallas – Fort Worth (DFW) region (this study does not currently include the DFW International Airport Station.) The regional rail network includes Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Trinity Railway Express (TRE), and Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) with stations located in 14 cities across four counties.


Getting on train with bicycle

The Active Transportation Routes to Rail maps identify:

    • One-half mile radius of each rail station
    • Existing pedestrian facilities
    • Continuous routes for pedestrians and one-half mile
      actual walking distances from each station
    • Existing bicycle facilities
    • Planned bicycle facilities

To view the Active Transportation Routes to Rail maps please click here.


The purpose of the Active Transportation Routes to Rail study is to provide a resource for cities, transit agencies, property owners, and individuals to understand the active transportation options (biking and walking) to reach each rail station in the DFW region.  The Routes to Rail study completed in 2014 differs from the 2003 Access to Rail study in that the pedestrian portion of the study is focused on the active walk distance (walkshed) using existing pedestrian facilities, which is impacted by gaps in the pedestrian network and other barriers of walking to and from a rail station.  This study does not specifically identify gaps in the network.  However, the study overlays routes on aerial photographs enabling the reader to view existing developed areas around each station which lack pedestrian or bicycle facilities.  As a result, stakeholders and decision makers have a better understanding of areas needing further study for possible infrastructure investment to improve network connectivity and increase the geographic area included within the actual half-mile walking distance of each station. 


Pedestrian Routes to Rail


Pedestrian Routes to Rail is a GIS network-based assessment that focuses on the routes and walking distances from rail stations.  ArcGIS Network Analyst tool was used to identify continuous pedestrian routes that are less than or greater than a half-mile actual walking distance from each station. For this analysis existing pedestrian facilities are defined as sidewalks and multi-use paths.


Gaps in sidewalk connections


To view the Active Transportation Routes to Rail maps please click here.



The Pedestrian Routes to Rail maps identify the following:

One-Half Mile Walk Distance


One-half walk distance from transit


Continuous pedestrian routes on existing sidewalks and trails with a walking distance of
less than one-half mile from the rail station (yellow lines)



Beyond One-Half Mile Walk Distance


graphic of distance from transit station


Continuous pedestrian routes on existing sidewalks and trails with a walking distance of
greater than one-half mile from the rail station (orange lines)



Disconnected Pedestrian Facilities


Graphic of Sidewalks not connecting


Existing sidewalks and trails within the half-mile radius of the rail station that are disconnected
from the pedestrian network due to gaps or other barriers, hindering a continuous route
to a station (red lines)



Bicycle Routes to Rail


The Bicycle Routes to Rail portion of this study identifies all existing and planned bikeways in proximity to existing light rail and commuter rail stations in the DFW region based on 2013 data.  The maps reflect off-street paths (trails) and streets designated by local adopted master plans for dedicated bikeways (e.g. bike lanes, cycle tracks) located on the street.  In accordance with the Texas Transportation Code, bicyclists have a right to the road.  As such, the map does not reflect other roadways around the station that may have signed bike routes or by state law may be used by bicyclists. 


To view the Active Transportation Routes to Rail maps please click here.

Active Transportation Routes to Rail Data Sources and Analysis

The data collected and used as part of this study include:

  1. GIS files of existing sidewalks and pedestrian crossings (2013 data)
  2. Digital aerial photography (orthos), Google Earth, and Google Street View
  3. Adopted trails and bikeway master plans for each city in which a rail station is located


The information published in the Routes to Rail study shows a reasonable degree of accuracy to provide a snapshot of bicycle and pedestrian networks near existing rail stations in the DFW region.  Due to the large number of transportation and development projects in the DFW region, bicycle and pedestrian routes to these rail stations may have changed since the publication of this study.  The information in this study does not reflect the physical condition or compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act ( of the existing bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. 


The ArcGIS Network Analyst tool tracks routes from rail stations along the continuous pedestrian network which includes sidewalks, multi-use trails, crosswalks, and unmarked crossings at intersections of minor arterial streets.  Physical barriers that create disconnects within the network include highways, access ramps, parking lots, unmarked crossings of major arterials, and sidewalks lacking connections to a pedestrian crossing.  Common conditions that create gaps in the pedestrian network are identified below.


Freeway access ramps without marked pedestrian crossings:


Unmarked ped xings


In the example above, the lack of a designated pedestrian crossing at the ramp is reflected as a disconnect in the pedestrian network.  Thus, the existing sidewalk to the left of the intersection (red line) is identified as disconnected from the network.  Such locations are examples of areas where improvements may be targeted to improve the safety and connectivity of the pedestrian network.


A sidewalk or curb ramp at the intersection does not exist:


No sidewalk at xings.


In the example above, pedestrian facilities on the right side of the street do not extend
to the curb or provide ramps to a crossing and is considered disconnected from the pedestrian network.



Major arterial roadways without a marked crossing:


Roadways without marked xings


In the example above, existing sidewalks on the right side (yellow lines) of a major arterial
are disconnected from existing sidewalks on the left side of the street (red lines). 
In addition, there are no existing sidewalks on the left side of the major arterial road.

NCTCOG released a Rail Station Access study in February 2003, identifying numerous ways in which regional cities could improve bicycle and pedestrian access to the 60 stations scheduled to be operational by 2008.  The stations studied in relation to bicycle and pedestrian access include nine operational commuter rail stations, 34 operational light rail stations as of 2003, and 17 planned light rail stations. Click below for more information about the 2003 study.

View more information about the 2003 Access to Rail Study

Recommendations resulting from the 2003 NCTCOG Rail Station Access study include:

  • Implementing local improvements, such as sidewalk repair or trail construction, to provide increased alternative transportation routes near stations
  • Promoting safety, convenient access, and incorporating complementary land uses near stations to encourage rail ridership and the success of transportation by rail in
    Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Expanding the rail system to provide a more comprehensive alternative mode of transportation for the growing population in the region


Family leaving train

The transportation providers for the Dallas-Fort Worth area currently are DART, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (FWTA), and DCTA.  DART operates the light rail transit system and jointly operates the TRE, a commuter rail line linking downtown Dallas to downtown Fort Worth, in cooperation with FWTA. The DCTA provides bus service in Denton County and will oversee the future connection of a commuter rail line into the Green Line, light rail system managed by DART.

- 2003 Station Recommendations




For question on Routes to Rail, please contact Kevin Kokes or (817) 695-9275.

5/24/2018  04/03/2015 bw %Arc

 North Central Texas Council of Governments | 616 Six Flags Drive P.O. Box 5888 Arlington, TX 76005-5888
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