What is Durham Transit?

The Durham County Transit Plan, also referred to as the “Plan,” “updated Plan,” “2023 Plan,” and/or “Plan update,” contains a program of transit services and projects to be funded by the dedicated local revenues for transit in Durham County through 2040. There are four dedicated revenue streams used toward funding the local share of projects and services in this Plan, referred to throughout the Plan as Tax District Revenues. These four dedicated Tax District Revenue streams are as follows: 

  • Article 43: Half-Cent Sales and Use Tax 
  • Article 50: Five-Percent Vehicle Rental Tax (portion allocated to Durham County by GoTriangle Board of Trustees) 
  • Article 51: Three-Dollar increase to GoTriangle Regional Vehicle Registration Fee 
  • Article 52: Seven-Dollar County Vehicle Registration Fee 

According to the 2013 Interlocal Agreement (ILA), a Staff Working Group was created that included representatives from Durham County, GoTriangle, and DCHC MPO to review the Plan and prepare updates as needed, or at least every 4 years. These Staff Working Group representatives, and representatives from the City of Durham and City-County Planning Department, worked collaboratively as the Project Team in developing this plan update. The last updated Durham County Transit Plan was in 2017 and included funding for the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit (DOLRT) project, which was discontinued in 2019. The funds previously allocated for the DOLRT project are reallocated as part of this updated Plan. 

This Plan will provide over $1 billion of local transit dedicated dollars to spend on transit improvements in Durham through 2040. About half of the funding in this Plan will be used to continue the bus service improvements that were approved in the 2017 transit plan; no service improvements will be stopped because of the adoption of this Plan (GoDurham Route 20 was suspended in 2020 and permanently discontinued in 2022 due to low ridership). The other half of the funds will support new transit initiatives and projects throughout the County, as identified through the public involvement process. 

Goals and Objectives

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Durham Transit Partners

The co-signatories of this Plan are the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro (DCHC) Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), Durham County, and GoTriangle. The governing board of the DCHC MPO includes local, elected officials from the City of Durham, Town of Chapel Hill, Town of Hillsborough, Town of Carrboro, Durham County, Orange County, and Chatham County, as well as representatives from GoTriangle and the State Board of Transportation. The GoTriangle Board consists of appointed representatives from Durham, Orange, and Wake Counties, and the State Board of Transportation. The Project Team consists of DCHC MPO, Durham County, and City of Durham.

Planning for our Region's Growth

This overview of the planning process describes the major milestones of the Plan’s development. This holistic planning process is the culmination of meaningful community engagement, analysis by passionate and experienced transit professionals, and direction from dedicated community leadership. At each major milestone in developing the Plan, public feedback was synthesized and incorporated. 

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  • The planning process started by establishing the Plan’s principles, goals and objectives, shown on page 12. These were created using transit-related input gathered from annual on-board transit rider surveys, the Comprehensive Plan Update Listening and Learning Sessions, Phase I of the City of Durham Participatory Budgeting Process, and resident focus groups from the City of Durham’s 2019 Annual Resident Survey.
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  • The next step was gaining an understanding of the transit needs and gaps in Durham County by performing in-depth existing conditions analysis.
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  • This step involved developing three different illustrative transit options (or scenarios) that each addressed identified transit needs. Each transit option contained varying levels of investment in different types of projects and demonstrated benefits and tradeoffs associated with each. These options were presented to the public for feedback.
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  • This step involved building a single, cost-constrained, recommended transit Plan with the projects that were chosen as the highest priorities, based on public feedback on the options. This draft recommended transit plan was then presented to the public for feedback prior to finalizing.
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  • The final step of developing the Durham County Transit Plan was documenting the entire planning process and final recommendations, and presenting the final Plan to the approving bodies. The participating agencies will continue to work together implementing the recommended service improvements and projects identified in the Plan.

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