DART, TRE Start 2023 with Survey to Gauge Demand, Meet Needs


Bus, rail, on-demand passengers asked to provide input to improve system


(Arlington, Texas) – The next phase of a regionwide transit survey will begin in early February. This time, data will be gathered from Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and Trinity Railway Express riders, helping planners determine demand on the system and potential improvements. If you use one of these providers, you may be asked to participate.

Funded through a partnership between the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), DART, the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) and Trinity Metro, this is the final phase of a regionwide transit survey that began last fall. This phase will run through Memorial Day.

The 2023 survey will operate the same as the first phase last fall, with on-to-off and questionnaire components. The two types of transit surveys will seek to determine how riders are using the expanding public transportation network and indicate what changes could be made to better accommodate the needs of the growing region.

“The regional transit travel survey began with DCTA, Trinity Metro and Arlington Via last fall and will continue in spring 2023, this time including TRE and DART, as well as its GoLink on-demand services, trolley, streetcar and shuttles,” said Arash Mirzaei, NCTCOG senior program manager, model and data development. “This voluntary survey will help the transit agencies understand how riders are using the transit system after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as provide a clear depiction of socioeconomic characteristics of transit users.

“Transit agencies can use this data to offer service enhancements to their customers both now and in the future.”

The on-to-off survey will attempt to measure demand and passenger trip patterns. Upon boarding a bus, riders will be handed cards by surveyors wearing blue vests and asked to return the cards when they disembark. On the region’s participating rail lines, passengers will simply be asked at what station they will get off.

The questionnaire survey will involve surveyors asking randomly selected passengers about their current trip and their socioeconomic characteristics. Some riders will be asked to fill out paper questionnaires instead of participating in interviews. Both survey questionnaire formats (electronic and paper) will contain the same questions.

Participation in the spring surveys is voluntary, and answers will be kept confidential. The goal is to collect data from a random sample of 10% of transit riders.

Dallas-Fort Worth is the fourth-largest region in the nation, with a population of approximately 8 million people. As North Texas attracts thousands of new residents each year on the way to a projected population of 11 million by 2045, transit will play a significant role in ensuring the transportation system remains reliable and continues to improve into the future. For more information about the survey, email transitsurvey@nctcog.org or visit https://nctcog.org/transitsurvey.