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The Orange Line now goes directly to DFW Airport
The five-mile extension of the Orange Line terminates at the airport's newly renovated Terminal A and grows the DART Rail System to 90 miles and 62 stations.
DFW Airport built the station as part of its Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program while DART's contractors focused on the rail line extension. By sharing construction duties, the partnership allowed DART to open the station in mid-August, four months sooner than scheduled.
Creating World-Class Connections
The Orange Line now provides visitors and residents with improved transit access to the airport and its growing roster of international and domestic destinations. It's an amenity to which globe-trotting travelers are accustomed. According to an Airports Council International report on ground transportation, train service is common at European and Asian international airports, and up to half of the passengers use it.
"Every renowned, world-class airport has rail service to the city center," said Sean Donohue, CEO of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. "One of our key priorities is to continue to grow globally and add more international service, so to be able to provide that same access to our customers is fantastic."
Beyond accommodating travelers, the new DART Rail connection provides a convenient and cost-effective commuting option for the nearly 60,000 employees at DFW Airport.
"Employees, as well as employers, really value this connectivity and it will make it possible for employers to grow their operations and their employee talent pool, and that's a good thing for the airport," Donohue said.
Bringing Business to North TexasRail service at DFW Airport provides business travelers, conventioneers and tourists with transit access to many North Texas destinations, including the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas Market Center, Dallas Arts District, Fair Park, American Airlines Center, Irving Convention Center and numerous other businesses and districts.
Many convention and event planners choose cities with transit options that make it easier for visitors to get around, which makes sense in terms of convenience and cost. It also gives the region an edge in attracting business travelers and tourists who prefer to use public transportation rather than rent a vehicle.
Dallas now is on more equal footing with places that are major competitors as meeting destinations - such as Washington, D.C., Miami, Chicago and Atlanta, which have rail service to the city center, and Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas, which do not.
"We have approximately 375,000 buyers that come every year from all 50 states and 35 countries," says Bill Winsor, president and CEO of Dallas Market Center. "For them to be able to step off the plane and take DART right to our building is a big plus for us. Similar service often has been touted as an advantage for Atlanta, but now we will be operating on the same level."
Beyond the economic activity generated by venues, visitors spend money on hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment - much of which are DART Rail-accessible. According to a study released by the American Public Transportation Association and the U.S. Travel Association, hotels in cities with direct rail access from downtown to the airport receive nearly 11 percent more revenue per room than hotels in cities without a rail-airport connection.
And it's not only business travelers, but businesses themselves that are attracted to a city with rail access at the airport.
In fact, transportation infrastructure ranked second in the list of most important location criteria, according to "Site Selection" magazine's October 2013 survey of corporate real estate executives.
"North Texas already has a wonderful reputation internationally as a business-friendly environment, and the new rail connection makes it easier for international and domestic business travelers to reach employment centers across our region," said Mabrie Jackson, president and CEO of the North Texas Commission.
According to Dr. Terry Clower, former director of the Center for Economic Development and Research at the University of North Texas, the region is well-positioned to compete in the global marketplace. "The synergy between the Dallas area's two airports, DART and the highway infrastructure make North Texas a very competitive and compelling place to be," he said.
Educating World CitizensRobert Scherer, dean of the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas, concurs. "The DFW Airport Station's opening will enhance the region's ability to attract more global corporations," he said.
Business majors comprise more than half of the University of Dallas' graduate and undergraduate population, and business college leaders see the airport-rail connection as an opportunity to attract more students. "As the number of corporate citizens increases, so will the need for a well-educated, prepared workforce," Scherer said.
Similarly, higher educational institutions such as UT Southwestern Medical Center, Southern Methodist University and The University of Texas at Dallas - also located along DART Rail - will benefit from airport access, particularly in attracting out-of-state and international students who may rely on public transit.