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Purple Line Light Rail Transit System Development

The nation’s first P3 light rail project provides a direct east-west transit link.
  • Purple Line Light Rail Transit System Development-Gannett Fleming

    By 2040, Purple Line ridership is estimated to be more than 74,000 daily; construction is projected to create 6,300 regional jobs during the 5-year construction period.

  • A rendering of the Purple Line train at the Riverdale Park Station – Gannett Fleming

    The 16-mile Purple Line will provide a major economic stimulus to the local communities.

Maryland Transit Administration

Joint venture with Whitman Requardt

Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, Maryland

Our Role
Preliminary Engineering, Final Environmental Impact Statement, Final Design, Noise and Vibration Analysis, Community Outreach, Overhead Catenary System, Traction Power Load Flow Analysis, Stormwater Management.

16 miles
Construction Cost
$2 billion
New Construction
In Progress
  • The east-west transit route will provide service to 74,000 passengers daily
  • This is the first public-private partnership light rail project in the U.S.

The Purple Line is a proposed 21-station light rail transit (LRT) line that will run from Bethesda to New Carrollton, Maryland. The project will provide a major stimulus to the local economy – making it easier to access jobs, shopping, schools, and entertainment, while promoting Maryland’s Smart, Green, and Growing initiative.

The light rail will provide a faster, more direct and more reliable transit service; connect the major activity centers; and offer better connections to Metro, MARC, Amtrak, and local bus services. Construction began in 2017, with the system scheduled to go into service in 2023.

What We Did

As part of a joint venture, Gannett Fleming provided planning, preliminary design, and final design services to the Maryland Transit Administration for components of the Purple Line project, including the locally preferred alternative (LPA) and the final environmental impact statement (FEIS). These efforts identified possible impacts to residents; communities; historic buildings; wildlife; and natural resources such as parks, wetlands, streams, and trees; and identified measures to minimize or mitigate the impacts. Our engineering team worked to fine tune the alignment of the LPA, which passes through several well-established communities. In addition, the team developed the layout and design features of 21 proposed stations and two proposed maintenance facilities.

The team also was responsible for community outreach, responding to more than 3,000 public comments, and coordinating with the appropriate local, state, and federal agencies, and completing the Administrative Record for the Purple Line. To help residents and agencies better understand the potential impacts of the new line, Gannett Fleming used a combination of proprietary computer simulations and graphic renderings during extensive public meetings. Gannett Fleming’s Sounds of Transit system was used to demonstrate to the public the sound levels associated with the proposed LRT vehicles. This powerful audio-visual tool helped demonstrate the expected sound levels, helping community members to clearly understand the impact of the project.

Key Features

  • Project delivered via public-private partnership
  • Design includes 21 proposed stations and two maintenance facilities
  • Gannett Fleming also will provide design reviews and construction phase services.

Awards & Recognition

  • Excellence in Environmental Achievement, 2015, Federal Transit Administration, Outstanding Achievement Awards.
  • Gold Award, 2016, P3 Bulletin, Best Transit and Aviation Project Competition

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