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D2 Subway: Dallas Central Business District (CBD) Second Light Rail Alignment

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DART encourages you to attend the meetings and/or provide your comments via the project email address [email protected].

Several more opportunities for public participation will occur throughout Project Development.


The D2 Subway project is a future second light rail line through downtown Dallas. DART began planning for D2 in 2007. Since then, several studies and planning efforts have been completed (see below for D2 HISTORY AND BACKGROUND), which led to approval of a mostly at-grade Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) in September 2015. DART initiated Project Development (PD) for that LPA in November 2015, which entails preliminary engineering (PE) and preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). During summer 2016, there were community concerns with the alignment and requests from the City of Dallas and key stakeholders to pursue a subway option. As a result, on October 25, 2016, the Board of Directors approved the FY17 Financial Plan, which doubled the project budget to $1.3 billion for development of a D2 Subway. Based on this action, DART initiated a LPA Refinement Phase in December 2016. This refinement phase entailed significant coordination with technical staff and downtown stakeholders, and resulted in both the Dallas City Council and the DART Board of Directors approving the D2 Subway LPA in September 2017 (see RECENT ACTIVITY AND ACTIONS). The D2 Subway LPA (Commerce via Victory-Swiss) extends from Victory Park to Deep Ellum, primarily below Commerce Street through the heart of downtown Dallas.

D2 Subway Locally Preferred Alternative Commerce via Victory/Swiss

D2 Subway Locally Preferred Alternative  Commerce via Victory/Swiss

Project Description


The Commerce alignment begins south of Victory Station. It moves through a switch off the existing alignment and then proceeds in a southeasterly direction within DART-owned right-of-way in the center of Museum Way and through the parking lot adjacent to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Adjacent to the Perot Museum will be an at-grade light rail station (Museum Way Station). After leaving the station, the alignment crosses under Woodall Rodgers Freeway at street level, and then begins its transition underground. The alignment enters a property currently occupied by a parking lot and descends into a tunnel. The alignment remains underground until IH 345. After passing under Hord Street near the Dallas World Aquarium, the alignment turns under Griffin Street. Between San Jacinto Avenue and Elm Street would be an underground station (Metro Center Station). This station would provide the ability to transfer to the West Transfer Center and the West End and Akard light rail stations.

After crossing under Main Street, the alignment would turn east under Belo Garden and follow under Commerce Street. While under Commerce another underground station is planned approximately between Akard and Ervay (Commerce Station). After passing under St. Paul Street, the alignment turns northeast under Main Street Garden Park. The alignment crosses diagonally across city blocks and there would another underground station (CBD East Station) between Main Street and Pacific Avenue. This station would provide opportunities to transfer to buses at the East Transfer Center.

After passing under Cesar Chavez Boulevard the alignment would begin the transition back to the surface. This transition would be under IH 345 and parallel to Swiss Avenue. Immediately after getting back to the surface the alignment would come to a switch that would allow trains to move either north or south along rebuilt Good Latimer tracks.


The Commerce alignment would introduce four new stations, one surface station (Museum Way) and three underground stations (Metro Center, Commerce, and CBD East). The underground stations would be accessed by stairs, elevators and potentially escalators. The location and number of the access points will be evaluated as Project Development continues during more detailed preliminary engineering efforts. The access points could be provided in open spaces downtown, within the sidewalks or incorporated into existing buildings. The underground station infrastructure will also include emergency egress and ventilation shafts.

Routing Options

While the LPA is identified as Commerce, the DART Board of Directors resolution indicates that routing options along Pacific and Elm will continue to be examined. In addition, the Dallas City Council resolution states that potential alignment modifications may be considered. As such, during future stages of Project Development, DART will examine a range of route refinements in this area of downtown.


The existing downtown light rail line is the at-grade Bryan-Pacific Transit Mall. The D2 Subway will help to ensure the sustainability of the DART system by providing needed capacity and improving system reliability and passenger service through downtown Dallas. Reliance upon one single LRT transit route through downtown constrains the ability of both DART and the region to implement additional radial light rail line projects or increase service levels on all existing radial light rail lines. Dependence on one single downtown mall also increases the risk for system wide service disruption due to incidents on the mall, such as traffic accidents and closure of the mall due to fire in adjacent buildings. The D2 Project Purpose and Need found that:
  • Capacity on the mall and some of the radial LRT lines is an issue now and becomes a critical issue by 2030, if not sooner.
  • Phasing of regional development and adjustments to demographic forecasts could have a significant impact on the timing of the D2 need.
  • An increasing number of all LRT riders (one quarter) will be coming from areas outside of the DART service area by 2035, affecting train capacity and crowding on radial lines outside of downtown Dallas, indicating that D2 capacity solutions will be of regional significance.
  • These conditions will exist despite DART's ongoing efforts to mitigate the situation through reduced headways, the introduction of super light rail vehicles (Super LRV's) which are longer and provide additional passenger capacity and faster boarding/alighting, station platform extensions, cab signals, transit signal priority along the existing transit mall, and service plan changes.
Once in place, DART proposes to reroute the Green and Orange Lines to the D2 Subway. The Red and Blue Lines would remain on the existing Transit Mall. Rerouting the Orange and Green lines will free up capacity on both downtown lines so that DART can insert additional train service to meet increasing ridership demands (see Operating Concept map below).

DART Rail Operations with D2 Subway


Recent activity and actions supporting advancement of the D2 Subway include:
  • On September 6, 2017 DART provided its annual Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program submittal to the Federal Transit Administration in support of a future Core Capacity federal funding grant request for approximately 50% of the project cost.
  • On September 12, 2017 the DART Board of Directors approved a debt resolution for the D2 Subway. This debt resolution provides flexibility to DART to issue debt to finance the project should DART not receive the anticipated Federal grant. Additionally, they approved the FY18 20-Year Financial Plan and FY18 Budget, both of which include the D2 Subway project.
  • On September 13, 2017 the Dallas City Council approved the Victory/Commerce/Swiss D2 Subway alignment as the Locally Preferred Alternative.
  • On September 26, 2017 the DART Board of Directors selected and approved the Commerce via Victory/Swiss Alternative as the Locally Preferred Alternative.


DART conducted an LPA Refinement phase between December 2016 and June 2017. The effort was in response to direction from the City of Dallas and the DART Board to develop D2 as a primarily-subway light rail line through Downtown Dallas. The LPA Refinement Phase culminated with the approval of the D2 Subway LPA (see LPA map above), and included:

  • The development of several subway alternatives with input from the general public, stakeholders, utility providers and public agencies.

  • A multi-step evaluation process that consisted of a 1) elimination of fatally-flawed subway alternatives, 2) screening for reasonable set of alternatives and 3) a detailed evaluation phase for a short list of alternatives, and considered evaluation factors such as:
    capital costs, ridership, consistency with Board/City Council directive, affordability, constructability, transferability/connectivity with LRT lines/bus transfer facilities, underground utility considerations, access to jobs, residents and visitor/entertainment attractions, interoperability with the existing LRT Transit Mall, private property impacts, and ability to maintain train operations during construction.

  • A comprehensive public and agency involvement program that included a technical committee and a stakeholder committee that met both individually and jointly, public meetings, individual stakeholder meetings, transit rider surveys, and Dallas City Council and DART Board committee briefings.


DART is in the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Project Development phase, a two-year process to complete Preliminary Engineering (PE) to support an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). FTA approved the original PD schedule based on the approval of the September 2015 LPA, and anticipated that PD would be complete by November 2017. With the change in direction in Fall 2016 to pursue a subway option, subsequent LPA Refinement Phase, and approval of the new D2 Subway LPA in September 2017, DART has requested that PD be extended by two years to November 2019. As of January 2018, FTA approval to extend PD is pending. Regardless of the FTA decision, DART plans to continue the PD process to support advancing the DART Board schedule for the project.

Remaining Project Development efforts will take approximately 18-months. This will include preparation of a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) to assess the benefits, impacts and costs of the project. This SDEIS will build upon and update the 2010 DEIS (see PROJECT HISTORY AND BACKGROUND) and will be made available to the public for review and comment. During the review period, DART will hold public meetings and a formal public hearing on the project. Based on the SDEIS and public input a Final EIS will be prepared. The Final EIS will outline mitigation commitments to address identified impacts. The Final EIS will be made available for 30 days and is followed by a Record of Decision (ROD) from FTA, which closes the environmental process. A mitigation monitoring program is part of the FEIS and ROD and will be put in place as the project proceeds into Engineering and Construction.

FTA Project Development Process

FTA process chart


Several meetings have been held during the Project Development Phase of the D2 Project, which began in November 2015. Below is a list of the meetings, where each meeting notation contains a link to a PDF file that contains meeting-specific information. The information varies by type of meeting.

Public and Agency Involvement D2 Subway Project Development (PE/EIS): January 2018 to Now

DART is preparing to reinitiate public and agency outreach for the D2 Subway. Please subscribe here to stay informed. Public and stakeholder meetings are anticipated to occur in Spring 2018.

Public and Agency Involvement LPA Refinement Phase: December 2016 through June 2017

Public Meetings

Deep Ellum Charrette

Stakeholder Work Group Meetings

Technical Committee Meetings

Public and Agency Involvement - Original LPA: December 2015 to August 2016

Public Meetings

Stakeholder Work Group Meetings

Other D2 Meetings


D2 is being implemented as part of a program of interrelated projects aimed to improve capacity of the system and access and circulation in the downtown core. In addition to the D2 Subway, DART is advanced the Red and Blue Line Platform Extensions project, which entails modifications at 28 stations on the Red and Blue Lines to accommodate longer trains. FTA has approved DART into the Engineering phase of Project Development and final design is underway. Funding sources include $60 million from TxDOT, and $58 million from FTA through the Core Capacity program. Construction is anticipated to be complete in year 2021.

DART is also supporting the City of Dallas as they advance the Dallas Streetcar Central Link to connect the Union Station/Convention Center area to the McKinney Avenue Trolley in uptown near Klyde Warren Park. The Dallas City Council approved the Elm/Commerce alignment as the LPA for the Central Link on September 13, 2017 concurrent with their approval of the D2 Subway. DART is coordinating with the City of Dallas on next steps, including Project Development under the FTA Small Starts program, which is anticipated to start in mid-2018.



DART launched the D2 Study in 2007 to identify and evaluate a range of transit improvements in the Central Business District (CBD). The D2 Study focused on identifying the second phase of major transit improvements in Downtown Dallas. The improvements would ensure high quality transit service as the DART system expands to meet growing needs. In addition, it was about improving mobility and circulation to, through and within the CBD, serving local and regional mobility needs, and enhancing the ability for the DART system to grow and thrive.

The D2 Study was done in two phases. Key information from each phase is provided below:

Phase One - AA/DEIS (2010)

Phase One of the study concluded with the Alternatives Analysis/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (AA/DEIS) in May 2010. The AA/DEIS include the evaluation of four primary alternatives.

Phase Two AA/Selection of Locally Preferred Alternative (2015)

Phase Two of the study concluded in September 2015 and built on the original effort in response to comments on the AA/DEIS and because of changed conditions in downtown. These changed conditions included the new Dallas Streetcar (Oak Cliff line) and planned extensions, the Downtown Dallas 360 Plan, and proposed High Speed Rail (HSR) from Houston to downtown Dallas. These comments and issues led to new D2 Alternatives as well as refinements to those considered in the AA/DEIS.

In February 2013, DART held public meetings to present the alternatives and refinements.

In June 2015 DART held public meetings to present the preliminary evaluation results which supported the selection of a preferred alternative.

September 2015 Locally Preferred Alternative

On September 22, 2015, the DART Board of Directors passed Resolution No. 150101 Approval of the Locally Preferred Alternative the Second CBD Light Rail Alignment (D2). The Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) was approved as Alternative B4 Lamar-Young with a Modified Jackson Alignment, which incorporates an alignment shift east of Dallas City Hall to address potential impacts along Young Street. The resolution further states that:
  • DART will continue to examine LPA routing options and station locations as required by the federal funding process.
  • DART will continue to review feasibility for an extension of D2 (referred to as Phase 1 on the map a tunnel spur to the south), as well as other options, to provide access to the Dallas Convention Center and High Speed Rail.
  • DART staff will advance these elements into Project Development including Preliminary Engineering (PE) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) documentation, pending approval from the Federal Transit Administration.
The most recent effort was refinement of the September 2015 LPA as a subway (see LPA REFINEMENT PHASE).

DART Board of Directors
September 2015 D2 Locally Preferred Alternative Map

DART Board of Directors D2 Locally Preferred Alternative Map

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