Routes to Rail

Bike rider on trainThe 2014 Active Transportation Routes to Rail study is an update to the 2003 Access to Rail study performed by 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.

The Active Transportation Routes to Rail maps identify:

  • One-half mile radius around 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.

Graphic of .5 mile walk distance

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
Continuous pedestrian routes on existing sidewalks and trails with a walking distance of less than one-half mile from the rail station (yellow lines). Click on the image for an enlarged view.
Beyond One-Half Mile Walk Distance
Continuous pedestrian routes on existing sidewalks and trails with a walking distance of greater than one-half mile from the rail station (orange lines). Click on the image for an enlarged view.
Disconnected Pedestrian Facilities
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). Click on the image for an enlarged view.

 


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 Analyses

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

Disclaimer

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 (www.ADA.gov) 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:
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:
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:
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.
 

Next Steps

Resources are being identified and coordination with communities is ongoing to identify additional analysis. Efforts may include:

  • Analysis on ADA accessibility and conditions
  • Overview or review of network in relation to pedestrian and bicyclist safety data
  • Prioritization of jobs, housing, and land uses needing connections
  • Identification of missing infrastructure needed in more developed area


For question about Routes to Rail, please contact Kevin Kokes.