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Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 23 Mar 2018 11:03
by muncien
Thinking out loud here...

But, I know many years ago I suggested that DART create a reduced/free fare area specific to the urban core that would allow DART rail to function more as a streetcar in that area, as it's very suitable to its design. Due to DART's existing fare structure, it actually discourages short trips and as a result hurts ridershio IMO.

The challenge was always with how to manage or enforce such a fare. If it were FREE, you could simply NOT check for passes while in the CBD (this is typically the case anyway). But FREE doesn't really sit well for many reasons.

With GoPass however... that changes things considerably. You could charge .50 or so, and even slightly expand the service area... Maybe from VP To DE and possibly City Place. They could easily restrict this type of fare to GoPass users, and even have it GPS enforced to disable the pass upon leaving the designated fare areas.

I think a little out-of-the-box thinking of these types of tools could increase DART ridership and help encourage GoPass adoption. As it stands now... I think ridesharing is cutting into short distance ridership quite a bit... particularly for the younger population.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 23 Mar 2018 11:53
by WilCo
muncien wrote:Thinking out loud here...

But, I know many years ago I suggested that DART create a reduced/free fare area specific to the urban core that would allow DART rail to function more as a streetcar in that area, as it's very suitable to its design. Due to DART's existing fare structure, it actually discourages short trips and as a result hurts ridershio IMO.

The challenge was always with how to manage or enforce such a fare. If it were FREE, you could simply NOT check for passes while in the CBD (this is typically the case anyway). But FREE doesn't really sit well for many reasons.

With GoPass however... that changes things considerably. You could charge .50 or so, and even slightly expand the service area... Maybe from VP To DE and possibly City Place. They could easily restrict this type of fare to GoPass users, and even have it GPS enforced to disable the pass upon leaving the designated fare areas.

I think a little out-of-the-box thinking of these types of tools could increase DART ridership and help encourage GoPass adoption. As it stands now... I think ridesharing is cutting into short distance ridership quite a bit... particularly for the younger population.


I wish we had a system like every other city I've been to with sophisticated mass transit where you just scan at a station and pay based on the distance you've traveled. That may be difficult to install logistically at this point. I can understand the difficulty given most of the stations are outside, however if I remember correct many of the San Francisco and Chicago train stations were outside too and had the same system.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 23 Mar 2018 15:40
by tanzoak
WilCo wrote:
I wish we had a system like every other city I've been to with sophisticated mass transit where you just scan at a station and pay based on the distance you've traveled. That may be difficult to install logistically at this point. I can understand the difficulty given most of the stations are outside, however if I remember correct many of the San Francisco and Chicago train stations were outside too and had the same system.


All of Chicago’s stations are separated from street level and gate-controlled.

In SF, BART is the same, Muni Metro is underground gate-controlled in parts and streetcar/bus-style in other parts, and Caltrain you tap on and off at non-gate-controlled stations with conductors on trains walking around checking fares.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 23 Mar 2018 15:47
by muncien
The two systems I have used the most are LA METRO and DART; Both of which are 'open' systems. But I have used transit in NYC and CHI extensively as well. Personally, I definately prefer the aesthetics of the 'open' system vs the 'cattle gates' of closed systems. I also recognize that the differences between areas served tend favor long range travel here, and therefore the current fare structure works. But, I don't see why we can't have a hybrid system where local users have alternatives now. I realize paper ticketing would be complex, but with electronic tickets its much more practical to implement such a service.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 27 Mar 2018 11:41
by DPatel304
Since we are making a 'wishlist' for DART, I've always wondered how beneficial it would be to have 'express' trains that go from end to end without stopping. Specifically, how much faster would it be to get from Parker Rd to Downtown if the train didn't stop.

If there is a huge time savings, I'd really like the idea of having express trains on every line. I'm not sure how feasible that would be, but I think DART is way too slow to really justify for most people who own cars.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 27 Mar 2018 14:54
by The_Overdog
I don't think express trains would be a very good idea - it would basically be gifting residents who mostly live in cities that don't pay DART tax with faster service and more frequency than anyone else. I guess that would be fine if DART collected an equal amount of fare income to taxes, but they don't.

If you did an express train, it would be best if it started from something like 635 and not much farther north. Then 'express' would be about 10 minutes to downtown Pearl Station.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 27 Mar 2018 14:59
by Cbdallas
When all of the trains are full all day then that is when we start thinking about express trains. Until then lets focus on dense train station development and ridership first and one mile radius station pathway improvements.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 27 Mar 2018 16:02
by cowboyeagle05
Yeah, DART trains right now in many ways work like the highways did in encouraging suburban living. When you make it easy to live further away and get into the center quickly it tends to shift priorities and rot the city from the inside out. I am not suggesting trapping people in the closer in areas but you can easily track how the highways created the suburbs and eventually sucked all the life out of Dallas and flung it further and further away. Same is happening to the first ring of suburbs that benefited from I-30, 35, 635 expansions.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 27 Mar 2018 16:08
by DPatel304
Well, I guess it's good we don't have express trains then..haha. I had not considered how unfair it would be to certain paying cities of DART, and also how it would encourage even more sprawl up north, so, with that said, I'm thinking this isn't my best idea. I think, even with all the points outlined, I would still like to see an express train that goes from Downtown Fort Worth to Downtown Dallas at least. Seems like part of the long term HSR plan is to incorporate Fort Worth, but, because the distance is so short, I feel like we could accomplish almost the same thing with the existing trains if we made them an 'express' train.

I definitely agree with Cbdallas, in that we need more development around existing stations.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 29 Mar 2018 08:03
by electricron
DPatel304 wrote:Well, I guess it's good we don't have express trains then..haha. I had not considered how unfair it would be to certain paying cities of DART, and also how it would encourage even more sprawl up north, so, with that said, I'm thinking this isn't my best idea. I think, even with all the points outlined, I would still like to see an express train that goes from Downtown Fort Worth to Downtown Dallas at least. Seems like part of the long term HSR plan is to incorporate Fort Worth, but, because the distance is so short, I feel like we could accomplish almost the same thing with the existing trains if we made them an 'express' train.

I definitely agree with Cbdallas, in that we need more development around existing stations.


But there already is one express train every day in each direction operating between downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth. It's called the Texas Eagle and is ran by Amtrak. It's rarely on time, so you will probably have to wait on it for hours at either station before you can board, during which several TRE trains may arrive and depart,

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 29 Mar 2018 09:25
by cowboyeagle05
Let me pause what I said. There can be a balance but its the transportation geared around moving bedroom community workers in town for work on the morning and back home at night that can lead to a suburban driven system. The highways have been the leading driver of this problem and continue to be. Focusing on the plan that everyone can live in Frisco and get into Downtown Dallas in fifteen minutes is where this problem begins. I am not against highways in every form or loyal to the idea that DART trains only enable continued suburbanite worship but we just have to balance the needs of the "suburbs" to the inner city. The first ring of suburbs is largely feeling the sting of what Dallas felt decades ago now that they themselves are being passed up for further out rings of burbs. Express trains are not evil and neither is DART trains in general. For me it all leads back to the bus system which we have discussed over and over and there is finally a few voices on the DART board that will admit the bus system is currently a ghost of what it could be.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 30 Mar 2018 10:07
by gshelton91
Cbdallas wrote:When all of the trains are full all day then that is when we start thinking about express trains. Until then lets focus on dense train station development and ridership first and one mile radius station pathway improvements.


I would agree that DART and the City could do much more around stations to connect and energize the stations but... seems to me this is a chicken/egg issue caused by a poor incentive system where DART is not getting enough revenue from actual system users to focus on what the customer needs. I don't believe todays DART has incentives that are well aligned with the goals that we all have for the agency.

Don't undervalue the lure of speed. Personally I think that is the key problem of DART today. I really can't afford to take DART because it is so slow and i live in easy walking distance to a station. To add to the problem DART would not make enough money from me getting on a DART Train to make any effort to get me to use it.... in stead they are focused on expanding their system further out away from the city.

I would advocate for DART cities to stop just giving DART a fixed amount based on sales tax revenue and instead give an incentive per rider. This would radically change how DART works... But I think other cities would suddenly be more interested in being part of the system.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 30 Mar 2018 10:20
by tamtagon
I think express trains are a critical next step to evolve the system into something people can use. Perhaps TXDoT can cough up a billion to retrofit ~half of the system station for train leap-frog during rush hour. Until the law is changed to allow regional funding rather than municipal funding, I would say the state is particularly derelict in duty to the intra-city rail systems of the state.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 30 Mar 2018 20:27
by tanzoak
A few considerations:

1. Frequency -- Express trains cut frequency at non-express stations, so you need a decent level of overall service to avoid making those stations terrible. The Orange/Red line runs 8 trains per hour during peak hours, which sits comfortably in the 6-12 tph range where express service can work well (if frequencies are too low, you have poor service; too high, you can't really make it work operationally). Express service may therefore make sense for that line.

2. Time Savings -- Express service works well when the lines are long and a large percentage of time on local trains is spent slowing down, stopped, or speeding up (that is, a high stop density/short distance between stops). While DART lines are plenty long, they have huge stop spacing. Even "close" stations like Walnut Hill and Park Lane are almost a mile apart. That means that eliminating stops will result in a relatively small amount of time savings, as a high percentage of time is already spent traveling at top speed.

3. Ridership Difference -- Express service provides more value if certain stations have particularly high (or low) potential ridership compared to others by allowing you to improve service for a large number of riders while reducing service for relatively few. If you squint reeeeally hard, you can see some differences (Parker Rd, Forest Ln, and Park Ln high; Downtown Plano and Galatyn Park low), but in the real world, those ridership numbers don't come close to the peaks and valleys that make express service make sense.

TL;DR -- You wouldn't get much benefit from running express trains on DART. The time savings wouldn't be that great, and you'd be harming nearly as many people as you'd be benefiting. If you absolutely must have an express train, though, it would be feasible on the Red/Orange line during peak hours, with likely stops of Parker Road > Bush Turnpike > Spring Valley > Forest Lane > Park Lane > Mockingbird.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 03:03
by electricron
With frequencies of 8 trains per hour on the red/orange line in north Dallas, there should be a train every 7. 5 minutes. Without additional passing sidings, a third track, the most savings in time an express train can make is at most 4 minutes - depending upon the size of the signal blocks.

When trains are running in the same direction, they either get a green go fast light (clear tracks ahead), or a red stop light (occupied tracks ahead) for the next signal block. if there is a train two signal blocks ahead, the following train will get an approach medium light (go slow you might need to stop at the next light).

Depending upon the size of DART's signal blocks, an express train might be following so close tit's seeing approach medium lights at every signal - and it would have to run slower than if following per the existing schedule.

Shrinking the size of the signal blocks would solve this problem, but that means spending lots more money on more signals to have more blocks.

The easiest solution is to install a third track so the express train can see clear ahead lights the entire length of the corridor - so that it can actually go fast!

For those who will argue that the trains run much closer to each other through the downtown street mall on Bryan and Pacific, you're correct. But how many times have you seen the trains run through those streets at 60 mph max speeds? I didn't think so because they usually are traveling relatively slower (aka approach medium speeds).

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 12:06
by tanzoak
electricron wrote:The easiest solution is to install a third track so the express train can see clear ahead lights the entire length of the corridor - so that it can actually go fast!


Great to have an ops perspective on express service as well! I just want to point out that you wouldn't have to have a third track along the entire corridor to get this benefit, though, as you could construct overtake locations where necessary.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 08:54
by muncien
tanzoak wrote:
electricron wrote:The easiest solution is to install a third track so the express train can see clear ahead lights the entire length of the corridor - so that it can actually go fast!


Great to have an ops perspective on express service as well! I just want to point out that you wouldn't have to have a third track along the entire corridor to get this benefit, though, as you could construct overtake locations where necessary.


And you need a lot less 3rd track if it is installed along the stations that are 'skipped', since passing a stopped train is a lot easier than passing a train at speed. I'm sure some numbers people can work out exactly how many trains you can 'leap' during a given express run. I highly doubt it would be more than one or two... which could save you between 15-23 minutes during peak time.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 03 Apr 2018 11:05
by Cbdallas
Unless this is a problem with packed trains then Express is just another way to expand the suburbs. Someday I could see using express when Dallas urban density is such that local stop trains in the core are too full but we are light years away from full trains. I could see adding express at the same time we add more stations and stops in the urban core to facilitate all of the density but until then lets build out D2 and see where we are.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 04 Apr 2018 01:18
by tanzoak
muncien wrote:And you need a lot less 3rd track if it is installed along the stations that are 'skipped', since passing a stopped train is a lot easier than passing a train at speed. I'm sure some numbers people can work out exactly how many trains you can 'leap' during a given express run. I highly doubt it would be more than one or two... which could save you between 15-23 minutes during peak time.


Running a train straight to Mockingbird would reduce the travel time for that train by like 12 minutes, max (assuming running at top speed [65mph] all the way through with no slowdowns, which wouldn't actually happen).

I don't know why you would want to do that, though. You would be worsening service for many, many more riders than you would be improving it for. The stations from Downtown Plano to Lovers have 4.5x as many riders as Parker Rd.

If you did the express route I laid out previously, the Parker Rd people would still save 7 min (vs 12), while you'd still be serving 64% of the ridership (vs 18%). Not to mention any Parker Rd people wanting to get off somewhere before Mockingbird.

I still don't think express service is a great deal here, but at least it's feasible. A Parker Rd to Mockingbird nonstop is a non-starter.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 08 Apr 2018 17:38
by dzh
Not really sure where else to post, or ask this question...so I figured this might be the best spot.

Anyways, I remember reading on this forum (way back on the old forum, and maybe a decade ago as well) that a few buildings on Ross were constructed with potential subway stations in the basement. I could be totally misremembering this (which is probably not too unlikely), but just wanted to throw this out there to see if anybody knew more details about this.

There aren't any buildings downtown with subway station shells in them are there?

Edit: Also I should further clarify, not referring to that old train tunnel that runs beneath elm (or whichever street it runs under)

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 08 Apr 2018 19:58
by Hannibal Lecter
^ Dallas city hall.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 09:39
by cowboyeagle05
As far as I know, City Hall is the only building Downtown where future underground transit access was built into the structure. I believe the underground tunnel system connecting Downtown office buildings, only partially built, had plans for underground rail as well. I don't think they ever built any of those tunnels as proposed since a subway was voted down before later on Light Rail was voted as the future of DART.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 12:21
by Haretip
There is another building downtown that has a subway station shell. I can't remember which one off the top of my head, but DFWCre8tive suggests 1700 Pacific.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 13:01
by dfwcre8tive
^ That's right. 1700 Pacific has some infrastructure beneath, since the plaza was always planned to be a transit center with integrated bus shelters (and 1700 Pacific was required to keep it so). The "future station" at Ross/Pearl shows connections to the buildings on that corner, but I doubt anything was built into those structures. It also shows how the pedway was meant to extend and connect as part of the downtown transportation system, instead of stand alone as it does today.

I took a photo of some plans in the archives at Thanks-Giving Square showing proposed subway connections. Many more are not scanned/photographed.

30121124_923059061546_585190450_n.jpg

IMG_4268.jpg

30020350_923059111446_1724851320_n.jpg

30184579_923059011646_606559425_n.jpg

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 15:09
by tamtagon
Is it too much to hope that enthusiastic partnerships will extend TRE to Kaufman County, using that subway plan?

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 22:17
by dzh
Are there any urban explorers out there that think they can get into any of these places? And if so, can provide pictures...

Also if parts of the infrastructure are already place, why wouldn't they think of connecting the existing DART along these paths as part of the D2 expansion?

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 23:42
by dfwcre8tive
dzh wrote:Are there any urban explorers out there that think they can get into any of these places? And if so, can provide pictures...

Also if parts of the infrastructure are already place, why wouldn't they think of connecting the existing DART along these paths as part of the D2 expansion?


The tunnel under City Hall was considered as one of the candidates for D2, but that was before it was changed to a surface route on Young Street to save money. As for 1700 Pacific, I imagine there's not much infrastructure in place except for strategically-placed columns and shells of hallways for future development.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 23:53
by electricron
tamtagon wrote:Is it too much to hope that enthusiastic partnerships will extend TRE to Kaufman County, using that subway plan?

DART is not going to extend the TRE into Kaufman County anytime soon.
First, no city in Kaufman County pays DART sales taxes.
Second, even if the entire county paid DART a full penny sales tax, it would generate less than $4 million per year.
Last year, per https://comptroller.texas.gov/transpare ... sales-tax/

Kaufman Co Dev Dist
Rate 0.500% Prior Year Payment $21,385.34
The City of Kaufman collected $862,136.16,
and the City of Terrell collected $2,752,971.28 in sales taxes.

Doubling the County's and assuming both cities are only charging penny now and have another full penny available; the best case scenario; the total sales taxes they could generate for DART would be $3,657,777.

Math = 21,385 + 21,385 + 862,136 + 2,752,971 = 3,657,777

$3.6 million isn't enough funding to support commuter train operations.

Take a look at DCTA yearly budget for comparison purposes....
https://www.dcta.net/images/uploads/con ... 18-Web.pdf
Rail Services total $21,071,075
Fuel budgeted at $2.75 per gallon in FY18 @ 400,000 gallons
Math = 2.75 x 400,000 = 1,100,000

DCTA trains run 21 miles between Denton and Carrollton. Forney to downtown Dallas is 21 miles by US-80. So the length of the railroad corridor would be approximately the same - if the train stopped in Forney and didn't go all the way to Kaufman. It's 33 miles to reach Kauffman.

$21 million is 5 and 3/4ths times more than what Kaufman County can fund with a full penny sales tax. And that's just O&M budget for DCTA rail operations, that didn't include any capital costs for construction.....

To get a commuter train to Terrell, people in Dallas, Collin, and Tarrant Counties will have to pay the bills, money they would rather spend in their own counties and not in Kaufman.
Math = 21,071,075 / 3,657,777 = 5.76

Terrell would be better off building a small train station for Amtrak's Texas Eagle to use, then lobby Amtrak very hard to stop at it. ;)

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 09 Apr 2018 23:57
by northsouth
Which transit plan was this a part of? I've seen (actually I saved them off the old forum) maps for the much more complex downtown alignments for the 1983 DART plan, so is this for one of the more pared-down plans after the bond election failed? The buildings included on the maps seem to imply so, but they could've been added after the fact.

Re: Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Posted: 13 Apr 2018 06:56
by electricron
I thought I'll show you what is really required to have an express train service. Here's mostly a rear window 40 minute video from White Plains to Grand Central in New York City. The cameraman moves to the back of the train around 7 and a half minutes. Pay close attention to the number of tracks, and how three and four tracks run through and around stations to make the express train you would be riding on work in the real world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4Kv5EtTEo0

FYI, White Plains to Grand Central is 22.3 miles, about 10 miles shorter than the distance between downtown Fort Worth and downtown Dallas.