What is the Purple Line?

The Purple Line is an above ground light rail line that will extend from New Carrollton in Prince George’s County to Silver Spring and Bethesda in Montgomery County. Five of the 21 stations will be located directly on or around the UMD campus. With direct connections to Metrorail, Amtrak, and MARC, the Purple Line will provide more accessible and reliable transportation for students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The Purple Line officially broke ground in August 2017, with an estimated completion date of 2022.

Why is the Purple Line a benefit for the University?

The Purple Line will dramatically improve the way students, faculty, staff and visitors access campus. Offering the UMD community easy access to the surrounding region like never before, the Purple Line will link our community to Metro, Amtrak, MARC and neighboring counties, improving commutes, opening up new opportunities for internships, and giving easier access to nearby amenities. The Purple Line will also play a role in the university’s Greater College Park initiative to cultivate a vibrant college town. The Purple Line will vastly reduce the number of vehicles operated on campus helping us to achieve our aggressive sustainability goals including being carbon neutral by 2050.

How will the Purple Line affect me?

The Purple Line will offer more direct access to campus from locations across D.C., Montgomery County and Prince George’s County and vice versa. With free rides for students, faculty and staff among the five stations on or around the UMD campus, access across campus will greatly improve, offering a new way to get to and from meetings, classes and more. For those who live in surrounding communities that connect to the Purple Line, you will have a new way to get to campus, lessening the impact of driving and parking on a daily basis. In addition, the Purple Line will open doors for students exploring internships and career opportunities throughout Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, reducing the need for a car to get across the region.

Will there be any discounts or incentives for UMD students, faculty and staff?

Five of the 21 stations will be located directly on or around the UMD campus. Students, faculty and staff of the university will be able to ride the Purple Line for free among those five stations, giving our community fast, efficient access across campus.

How will the Purple Line affect parking and bus routes?

The construction of the Purple Line will require some adjustments to parking assignments and bus routes on and around campus. The UMD Department of Transportation Services has already begun implementing a comprehensive plan to facilitate a smooth transition by providing alternative methods of transportation to campus and consistent communication on any changes. Any changes to an individual's parking assignment or standard bus route will be communicated in advance. In addition, with the Purple Line’s direct access to campus from the surrounding region, we expect that this will reduce the need for many members of our community to drive and park on campus on a daily basis.

How will the Purple Line construction affect traffic? Will there be road closures?

During the construction of the Purple Line, there will be some temporary road closures and adjustments made to traffic patterns. The university will provide updates about traffic impacts on campus as they become available. All changes and adjustments will be communicated in advance and alternate plans and suggested routes will be put in place. For the most up to date construction information, visit http://www.purplelinemd.com/construction/ and sign up for updates.

How do I receive the latest updates on Purple Line construction?

For the most up to date construction information, visit http://www.purplelinemd.com/construction/. You may sign up for text and email updates at http://www.purplelinemd.com/construction/sign-up-for-updates/, and select “College Park/M Square.”

What safety precautions will be in place once the Purple Line is in service?

The safety of our community is a top priority. Our campus has a robust safety and security plan (including cameras and frequent patrols) which will be enhanced with the addition of the Purple Line. The plan will include measures such as a maximum speed limit for Purple Line trains of 15 mph through campus and designated pedestrian crossing locations.

What is happening to the M?

The University of Maryland’s M Circle is a treasured landmark on our campus, and a defining marker for students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors to campus. As we prepare for the Purple Line, which will offer the UMD community easy access to the surrounding region like never before, our beloved M will find a new home just across the street from where it currently stands.

The new landscaped M will still be in a place of prominence as visitors arrive and we welcome Terps home to campus. In its new location, the M will provide safer access for iconic photos, no longer requiring people to walk across a busy traffic circle to capture memories.

We understand how important M Circle is to the Terp community, and have ensured that our campus will never be without its treasured M. During the Purple Line construction process, the new landscaped M will be built before the old M is removed. The construction of the new M is anticipated to begin in fall 2018. To honor M Circle’s more than 40 years on campus, we will mark its “bon voyage” and distribute a celebratory item at a later date, marking this new chapter for our university.

Click here for a video showing conceptual views of the new landscaped M as you enter campus from Baltimore Avenue.

Will the Purple Line impact trees on our campus? What is the university planning to do about it?

The university is deeply committed to a maintaining a sustainable, green campus. We will be working in close coordination with the Purple Line to ensure that new trees will be planted for every tree that is removed during construction. Within one year of the Purple Line’s opening, our goal is to plant more trees on campus than those removed during construction. Our tree planting program will be adjusted as needed to ensure this is the case. We have worked with the Purple Line design team to identify trees near the alignment that may successfully remain, as well as trees that are good candidates for successful relocation on campus.

What will the Purple Line Stations look like?

Conceptual renderings of the stations on Campus Drive near Cole Field House, and near Ritchie Station are shown below.

Station on Campus Drive near Cole Field House (2016)

Station on Campus Drive near Cole Field House (2016)

Station on Campus Drive near Cole Field House (2016)

Station on Campus Drive near Cole Field House (2016)

Station on Rossborough Lane near Ritchie Coliseum (2016)

Station on Rossborough Lane near Ritchie Coliseum (2016)

What will the Purple Line trains look like?

Renderings of the exterior and interior of the light rail vehicles are shown below.

 

Light rail vehicle exterior renderings (Courtesy MDOT MTA and PLTP)

Light rail vehicle exterior renderings (Courtesy MDOT MTA and PLTP)

 

Light rail vehicle interior renderings (Courtesy MDOT MTA and PLTP)

Light rail vehicle interior renderings (Courtesy MDOT MTA and PLTP)

Light rail vehicle interior renderings (Courtesy MDOT MTA and PLTP)

Light rail vehicle interior renderings (Courtesy MDOT MTA and PLTP)