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Project Overview


Fast Facts for the Purple Line Project PDF Icon

The Purple Line is a 16-mile light rail line that will extend from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George's County. It will provide a direct connection to the Metrorail Red, Green and Orange Lines; at Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, and New Carrollton. The Purple Line will also connect to MARC, Amtrak, and local bus services.

The Purple Line will be light rail and will operate mainly in dedicated or exclusive lanes, allowing for fast, reliable transit operations. Twenty-one stations are planned.

MTA is taking the lead on this project, with the support and close coordination of a team that includes the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Montgomery and Prince George's counties, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, State Highway Administration, and local municipalities in the project area.

Purple Line Alignment PA Map

Community-Friendly Light Rail Transit

Light rail vehicles are modern streetcars, powered by overhead electrical wires.

Features include:

  • Low floors to allow passengers to board without climbing steps
  • Quiet operations
  • Neighborhood stations convenient for pedestrians

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The Purple Line is a 16-mile east-west light rail line linking Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma/Langley Park, the University of Maryland at College Park, and New Carrollton.


  • Reliable and rapid east-west travel
  • Connects to Metrorail Green and Orange lines and both branches of the Red Line
  • Supports community revitalization and transit-oriented development
  • Connects people to jobs
  • Serves major economic centers
  • Connects to all three MARC lines, Amtrak, and local bus routes


  • 16.2 miles
  • 1 short tunnel (Wayne Avenue to Long Branch)
  • 21 stations
  • 69,000 total daily riders in 2030; 74,000 total daily riders in 2040
  • Construction: 2016-2021

The project includes the completion of the Capital Crescent Trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring, the completion of the Green Trail along Wayne Avenue to Sligo Creek Parkway, and the construction of a bike path through the University of Maryland Campus.


2002-2008 MTA studies a range of alignments and different transit modes (light rail and bus rapid transit) for the Purple Line project area
2009 Light rail selected as the mode of transit; alignment identified
2009-2014 Conceptual and Preliminary Engineering Phase
2013 MTA decides to use a Public-Private Partnership (P3) to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Purple Line
2013 FTA accepts the Final Environmental Impact Statement
2014 FTA issues the Record of Decision
2014 MTA issues Request for Proposals for Purple Line P3
2016 Concessionaire selected to complete design, build, operate and maintain the Purple Line
2016-2021 Final Design and Construction
2022 Purple Line service begins