Topics & Perspectives

Celebrate 40 Years of DART

A regional transportation innovator since 1983

DART’S story began on Aug. 13, 1983, when more than 100,000 voters in 14 cities and Dallas County cast ballots in favor of regional transportation to help residents get around the city. After that vote, the agency’s vision of transporting North Texans efficiently, safely, and cost-effectively became a reality. 

A Vision of Connecting— Then and Now

DART had a vision for connecting more than just people and places; it wanted to serve as a vehicle for opportunity, progress, and growth. This new transformative transportation system would inspire rebirth everywhere it went. From its first bus routes in the 1980s to the construction of the Silver Line today, DART continues to innovate as it adds new chapters to its story.

DART’s board members, executive staff, riders, and others wanted to see the full potential of a multimodal transit system by “building out,” a mindset that allowed DART to achieve the longest light-rail system in North America at 93 miles.

Since March 2020, a perfect storm of pandemic-imposed challenges and infrastructure development delays created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take DART into a new era.

DART’s new leadership pulled together to address challenges and focus on strengthening its rider-centric culture to fulfill the promise made to riders, the community, and city leaders. As DART continues its journey, it is making safety, security, cleanliness, and reliability a top priority — now part of the agency’s operational DNA and allowing the agency to move forward and find opportunities to surprise and delight its riders. 

“DART already had a strong foundation when I joined the organization two years ago,” said President & Chief Executive Officer Nadine S. Lee. “Even so, as a leading transportation provider in North Texas, we will never stop evolving.”

Investing in the future with new vehicles and more
Investing in the future with new vehicles and more

Investing in North Texans 

DART is investing more than $110 million in a cleaner, safer, and more reliable rider experience. The goal is to provide service that exceeds expectations and to operate a world-class system powered by world-class employees. Honored to be recognized by Forbes as a top employer for four years in a row, DART employs more than 3,700 North Texans, and the organization continues to aggressively add talented, diverse, and passionate people to its workforce.

Meanwhile, the organization’s Multimodal Modernization Program will replace aging vehicles, systems, and facilities — giving DART a complete makeover in the coming years. DART’s Mobility+ effort is guiding agency improvements for the next decade, while the Silver Line Regional Rail project will span from DFW International Airport to Shiloh Road in Plano. DART anticipates the line will be operational by late 2025 or early 2026.

The innovative GoPass app
The innovative GoPass app

GoPass App

In addition, the agency continues to innovate with GoPass, its industry-leading application that modernized the rider experience as a reloadable transit payment card that makes it easy for customers to ride and save money while doing so. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) bestowed its prestigious Innovation Award to DART in honor of GoPass, the first ticket-purchasing app to integrate multiple regional transit agencies and different forms of transportation onto a single platform. The app boasts two million downloads to date. In 2023, DART also introduced a new GoPass Tap card retail network that significantly expands the locations where riders can purchase and reload the fare card.  DART is on the go and moving forward!

Perhaps nowhere can DART’s far-reaching impact be seen more clearly than in its transit-oriented development efforts, which embody the phrase, “Where public transportation goes, the community grows.” With over $16 billion in existing, planned, or projected development, DART continues collaborating with its 13 service area cities to create fantastic spaces that draw economic and social activities.

Moving forward into the future

Starting in 1983, for 40 years, DART has been on the go, moving forward, connecting people and places. Over the next 40 years, DART will continue to embark on new plans to elevate service quality and provide seamless journeys for riders to maximize the social and economic potential of the Dallas-Fort Worth region and the DART experience.


H.B. Elliott

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