Commuter Rail Showdown: Houston versus Dallas

The rivalry between Dallas and Houston is well known, but Dug Begley recently made a compelling comparison between the two cities: their approach to commuter rail.
Zac Bowling / flickr

"When it comes to rail development…it's not just miles, but long-running philosophies dating back more than 30 years that divide Houston and Dallas as both open new rail lines this year," writes Begley.

The comparison is especially apt as Houston prepares to open new Purple and Green lines (expected in the fall) and a new Dallas Area Rapid Transit line brings rail to the region's major airport (expected in August).

"Since 1983, and some argue even longer than that, the cities have been on vastly different trajectories when it comes to rail transit. Dallas has enjoyed a much less fractious political climate. That relative calm compared to Houston has given Dallas officials more latitude to invest and leverage local money to capture federal funds."

That tradition has led to the more dense of the two having less rail transit service: "DART will soon have 90 miles serving 62 stations, while Houston later this year will have 22 miles of track and 38 major stops….Houston's population is twice that of Dallas, though their respective metropolitan areas are similar in size."

The article is a good, long piece, with plenty of detail and opinions from either side of the debate about transit and rail in particular.

Full Story: Dallas, Houston follow different paths on rail development

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