DART Light Rail (Dallas) Peak Hour Ridership

Local officials in Dallas have claimed that the DART light rail line is carrying more riders during peak hour than a lane of the adjacent North Central Expressway. The data, obtained through an open records request under Texas state law, does not support the claim (the request sought all ridership information on DART during peak hours by route segments).

On average a freeway lane carries between 2,250 and 2,750 passengers during a typical peak hour (60 minutes).

DART was able to provide only "alighting" (people getting off the train) information on route segments during periods of approximately four hours. The only period for which it is possible to estimate peak hour ridership from the DART data is from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. To estimate the peak hour ridership, the total number of people leaving the train north of downtown (the North Central Expressway corridor) was calculated from the DART data. On average, during weekdays in February, 3,598 riders alighted from the light rail line northbound at Mockingbird, Lover's Lane and Park Lane stations during the evening peak period (3 to 7 pm). From This data it can be concluded that the peak ridership segment of the Park Lane line was 3,598, between the Pearl Street and Mockingbird Road stations.

DART surveys indicate that approximately 35.5 percent of light rail riders would be automobile drivers if they were not on light rail (estimated from automobile drivers responses with an assumption that one-half of the respondents who would use car pools would be automobile drivers). If it is assumed that the peak travel hour during the 3:00 to 7:00 pm period has twice the average hourly volume, then the number of cars removed during the peak hour by light rail is approximately 640, less than one-third the capacity of a freeway lane.

The other two downtown oriented corridors (Ledbetter and Westmoreland) had lesser volumes.

Number of People on Trains by Downtown Oriented Corridor: 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm Weekdays in February 2000
Total on Train Hourly on Train Estimated Automobiles Taken from Road: Hourly Relative to Hourly Freeway Capacity
Park Lane Line: Pearl to Mockingbird 3,598 899 319 14.2%
Westmoreland Line: 8th & Corinth to Zoo 2,339 585 208 9.2%
Ledbetter Line: 8th & Corinth to Morrell 1,939 405 172 7.6%
Note: Information calculated from data in DART February 2000 LRT Alightings by Station, Day of Week, Direction and Time.

(c) 2001 www.publicpurpose.com --- Wendell Cox Consultancy --- Permission granted to use with attribution.
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