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Located between both coasts, Dallas has always been a major hub for transcontinental traffic. More recently, NAFTA confirmed the city's strategic placement as labor and products flow between Canada and Mexico. As demand continues to increase, so have ideas for meeting it reliably and affordably. See below to find out why millions of people and parcels make their way through Dallas every year.

Transportation in Dallas
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Love Field Airport
new FAA security regulations
Dallas Heliport
Texas Railroads
Ports and Waterways
Driving in Dallas
Motor Carriers

Transportation in the Development Process
Transportation Links


  Animation Photos, photos by Troy Olgilvie


Transportation in Dallas
Served by a vast air and land transportation infrastructure, getting from Dallas to anywhere in the world is easy and cost efficient. Ninety six percent of the U.S. population can be reached from Dallas within 48 hours by truck or rail and within four hours by air. Dallas in the geographic center of North America's, placing travelers, suppliers, and products within four hours of North America's major business centers: Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, and Toronto.

Dallas offers:

  • Four interstate highways (Interstates 20, 30, 35, and 45), two major loops and a number of state highways serve Dallas. There are 48 lanes on seven radial expressways focused on Downtown Dallas.
  • DFW International Airport is 15 minutes from downtown Dallas and Love Field Airport is located just north of downtown.
  • Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) offers an extensive bus system, light rail and a commuter train, providing convenient, safe and comfortable transportation throughout Dallas and outlying suburban areas.
  • High Occupancy Vehicle lanes expedite travel for buses, carpools and vanpools only during rush hour.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
With a central North American location that puts travelers and cargo within three hours of the east and west coasts, and within four hours of any major city on the North American continent, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is a catalyst for the entire economy of Dallas. The airport is a $10.8 billion asset to the greater metropolitan area, and it also supports 204,000 jobs.

DFW is the second busiest airport in the world with 2,500 daily flights, and experts predict it will soon become the world's busiest airport. DFW facilitates the travel of millions of convention delegates, tourists and a steadily increasing number of international visitors. The number of international passengers has increased 67 percent in the past five years, and 5.7 percent in 1997 alone, reflecting DFW's growing popularity as a world-class international air hub.

When expansion plans are complete, DFW will have a total of eight runways, a new terminal and an expanded infrastructure of roadways and taxiways which will enable the airport to support nearly 4,000 flights a day. Below is a current list of airlines operating from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport:

DFW is one of the most convenient airports to be found anywhere, and offers many unique benefits:

  • Facilities designed with multi-lingual, easy-to-understand language.
  • Direct service to nearly 200 destinations worldwide.
  • Passenger Services Agents fluent in 21 languages.
  • Premier cargo facilities with the lowest cost distribution in the U.S.
  • State-of-the-art systems that provide shippers with access to six intersecting interstate highways, five major rail carriers and more than 500 motor carriers.
  • A 2,500-acre foreign trade zone (FTZ) with airfield, rail and truck access and a U.S. Customs Service district headquarters. DFW holds the primary FTZ grant for all of North Texas.
  • An automated Airport Train provides transportation throughout the airport.
  • Entry port of designation for Fish and Wildlife. U.S. Customs District Headquarters.
  • Three separate terminals provide Customs and Immigration facilities for international passenger arrivals.

When it comes to cargo handling, DFW International Airport is the largest inland port in the nation. Its unique advantages - central location, comparatively low cost of doing business and ease of access to U.S. and world markets - appeal to shippers and freight forwarders. During 1997, cargo activity (including freight and mail) increased 4.7 percent to 894,000 U.S. tons (811,000 metric tons), and international cargo increased by 20.1 percent, far ahead of other major U.S. airports. Currently, two separate cargo areas serve the airport, but construction has begun on a new 205,000-square-foot International Air Cargo Centre, which will add to DFW's existing 2.1 million square feet of cargo facilities.

Love Field Airport
Dallas Love Field is a city-owned airfield dedicated to short-distance/commuter flights. It is currently undergoing renovation in the form of a new parking garage. The airport is home to four major airlines:

Dallas Heliport
The Dallas Heliport is a city owned facility that accomodates three helicopters and two tilt rotor aircraft at the same time. This large (170,000 square foot) port has several rooms for pilots and passengers to rest, wait, and work. It is open 7 days a week, from 7am to 10pm.

Additional facts about the Dallas Heliport:

  • Elevation: 479.75 AMSL
  • Reference Point: lat - 32"46' 24.00* N; long - 96"48' 01.00*W
  • Call Sign: Dallas Heliport
  • Parking for vehicles: 26 spaces

Texas Railroads
From the steam engine to modern commuter trains operating at 200 miles an hour, the rail system of the United States is a major transportation force. There were over one trillion tons of cargo moved through the country, according to the Association of American Railroads. If you are interested in Texas' rail industry, the Texas Railroad Commissioner's Office maintains a list of rail carriers operating in Texas, and has several contacts in their Rail Division who can furnish more information on how rail might be the solution to your transportation needs.

Ports and Waterways
The major port for the state of Texas is found in Houston. The Port of Houston is located near the Gulf of Mexico, and is dock for both public and private cargo ships. It is the premier port for the entire nation, with close to 7,000 ships moving through every year. According to their website, Houston's port moved 175 million tons of cargo last year, giving it the distinction of being the country's second (and the world's eight) largest port in terms of total tonnage.

The largest regional port is the Port of Shreveport-Bossier. This inland port serves Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas via a 2,000 acre center, which supports truck, barge, and rail cargo.

DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit
With around 100 million passengers per year, DART provides mass transit for virtually all of Dallas county. Since DART is funded by a percentage of the sales tax, it is one example of how successful public/private partnerships can be in Dallas. What started with bus service has become a complete and modern system of bus, light rail, and commuter rail lines. There are also specialty services for the disabled and employees of large companies.

Driving in Dallas
Every city tries to find ways to make driving easier; Dallas is no exception. That's why it regularly holds traffic counts, designed to give planners and drivers information on the city's traffic problems. The data are also used to analyze planning strategies. Dallas also plays a role in determining the greater region's driving needs. Through cooperation with the city of Fort Worth and the Texas Department of Transportation, Dallas is creating an intelligent transportation system for North Texas.

Visit sites for upcoming projects for Dallas drivers:
Project Pegasus - Transforming the I-30/I-35 mixmaster and canyon areas near downtown Dallas.
The Southern Gateway - developing solutions to improve safety and traffic conditions in the I-35/US 67 area.
The High Five Project - a construction plan for the I-635 and Central Expressway interchange

View related studies by the City of Dallas Planning Department here:
Spring Valley/Coit Road study
Greater Far North Dallas Land Use and Transportation Plan

Motor Carriers
The trucking industry in Texas is alive and well, thanks to NAFTA and Interstate 35. The Texas Motor Transportation Association is an active force in policymaking, education and training, and public service for people involved in the motor transport industry. Their well-organized website will provide extensive information for those interested in all aspects of trucking.

If you need additional resources, the Texas Department of Transportation offers a FAQ page dedicated to motor carriers operating in Texas, nationally, and internationally. If you're looking for size and weight limits, they can be found here.

Transportation in the Development Process

  • Locate and price the nearest freight and parcel carriers. Make sure that their services, especially if you need them often, are easily accessible.
  • Consider the availability and extent of transportation services close to your proposed location. Airports, highways, public transportation, ports, and trains are all essential to moving people and products to and from your site.

Transportation Links


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