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North Texas transit agencies plan rider surveys to help set future course

Dallas and Fort Worth’s public transportation agencies are working with the North Central Texas Council of Governments to determine how residents are using the region’s growing transit system and how it might be changed to accommodate an increasing population.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and Trinity Railway Express (TRE) passengers will be asked to participate in two types of surveys beginning next month, while Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) and Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) passengers will be surveyed from September through November.

The transit agencies will contribute $900,000 to the $1.5 million project’s cost. The governments council will contribute the remainder, agency officials said in a joint press release.

Beginning the first week of February, DART and the TRE will conduct "stop-to-stop" surveys, which will continue through mid-March, in an effort to determine the trip patterns at each rail station and bus stop. The goal: gather information from 20 percent of train and bus passengers.

To be conducted from the conclusion of the "stop-to-stop" survey through May, the other poll will involve surveyors asking randomly selected riders questions in an effort to collect demographic information and details about the use of public transportation. The goal is to capture information from 10 percent of passengers.

The project will provide transit agencies with a travel-behavior model that will allow them to project future ridership and specific destinations with a high demand. The information could also improve the transit agencies' competitiveness when applying for federal funding for service expansion and enhancement, officials said.

The region's transit passengers were most recently surveyed in 2007-08. Since then, the regional transit network has grown with DART's opening of the Green and Orange lines and the debut of DCTA's A-train.

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More News from 1/23/2014