The Purple Line is a new 16.2-mile light-rail line that will connect communities from Bethesda and Silver Spring in Montgomery County to College Park/University of Maryland and New Carrollton in Prince George’s County, with a total of 21 stations.
Light-rail transit (LRT) is an electric railway system characterized by its ability to operate single cars or short trains along rights-of-way at ground level, on aerial structures, and in tunnels. LRT can operate in mixed traffic or in a separate right-of-way. The Purple Line will run in both mixed traffic and in a separate right-of-way.
What is the difference between light rail and metro?
Light rail is powered by an overhead catenary system and can operate on the surface of roadways where vehicles and pedestrians can easily cross over its tracks. As compared to light rail, heavy rail or Metrorail uses a third rail to operate and therefore, must be in an exclusive right-of-way that is grade separated from cars and pedestrians.
Why is the State of Maryland building the Purple Line?
The main purpose of the Purple Line is to:
Provide faster, more direct, and more reliable east-west transit service connecting major activity centers in the corridor including Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma/Langley Park, College Park/University of Maryland, and New Carrollton.
Provide better connections to existing Metrorail and MARC commuter rail services.
Improve mobility and connectivity to the communities in the corridor located between existing rail lines.
The Purple Line, which is owned by the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA), is being designed and built by the Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP), the private-sector partner, who will also operate and maintain the system for 30 years.
Design-build refers to the portion of the Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain contract relating to the design and construction of the Purple Line. The Purple Line Transit Constructors (PLTC) is Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP)’s design-build contractor.
The Art-in-Transit program recognizes public art as an integral element of the transit project and further enhances the Purple Line’s high-quality stations, aesthetic treatments and landscape designs. Art will be incorporated into stations as well as certain other project structures including bridges, fencing, and lighting.
CATs are member-driven teams with representatives appointed from neighborhood and civic associations adjacent to the alignment. There are also representatives from business associations and local governments. There are a total of eight CATs – four in each county. Learn more about the Purple Line CATs.