Transit Facilities Can Transform into Fantastic Spaces

Texas Forever Fest 2024 - Downtown Plano Station
Posted on May 23, 2024 by By DART President & CEO Nadine S. Lee, Leading Mobility newsletter

When I think of magnificent transit locations outside of the Dallas region, the stations of the London Underground immediately come to mind. In fact, the London Underground Station Design Idiom is one of the most thoughtful and compelling set of design principles I have ever seen, and I hope to adopt concepts from it for the work we do here at DART.

The London Underground’s Idiom emphasized the importance of good design in transit facilities, and how the care we put into our infrastructure from start to finish speaks volumes about our attitudes toward our riders. Making travel easier and more enjoyable instills confidence in our work as a transit agency. I admire Transport for London’s focus on the customer experience and how they put their riders at the heart of every design and maintenance decision. The Idiom further addresses how stations should be integrated into the places where riders are going and underscores the need for the station and surrounding areas to support each other.

In that spirit, the DART strategic plan goal to create “fantastic spaces” is focused on activating DART’s assets and making them more productive for the riders, communities, and cities we serve.

For example, park-and-ride lots often become underutilized voids between the adjacent neighborhoods and our station platforms. After 28 years of operating DART Light Rail, we have a good understanding of the parking capacity needed when we reach to our 2019 ridership levels.

Underutilized parking presents an opportunity for DART to collaborate with cities and private entities to create little “pockets of brilliance” in the voids that exist around our rail stations and transit centers.


We already use some of our passenger facilities as temporary public spaces. For example, this past August, the agency partnered with the City of Carrollton to host a drive-in movie on the lot at DART’s North Carrollton/Frankford Station, which is mostly empty on the evenings and weekends. This event allowed the city and agency to raise community awareness of DART’s services and the future Silver Line Regional Rail while hosting a fun, family event.

Currently, our DART Cares team is hosting a series of small pop-up farmers markets at stations and transit centers in partnership with Restorative Farms. These events attract a buying audience for the urban farmers and give improved access to fresh food for our lower-income residents who live in food deserts within the DART Service Area.

Integrating stations with other commercial and community focused uses is a key part of our transit-adjacent development (TAD) objective and a significant extension of our transit-oriented development (TOD) methodology. TAD has a substantial impact on how customers perceive their total journey and allows DART more opportunities to contribute to the vibrancy of our cities.

By creating appealing and engaging spaces for people to enjoy, DART will add value to our communities, enhance the rider experience, and foster a sustainable and thriving region. Leveraging our assets in this way will make our cities the best places to be in North Texas.


At Top: The City of Plano’s Texas Forever Fest takes place in a city parking lot next to DART’s Downtown Plano Station.

Middle: The City of Carrollton partnered with DART to host a drive-in movie in August 2023 at DART's North Carrollton/Frankford Station.

The DART Cares team is working with Restorative Farms to provide affordable fresh produce to riders and the community by hosting pop-up farmers' markets at DART transit facilities like the Addison Transit Center and Westmoreland Station.

Categories : Leading Mobility
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