The planned Metrorail Line to Dulles Airport will provide a high-frequency, high-capacity link between the airport and the region’s core, and will enable travel between all Metrorail stations and the airport, without requiring rail-to-bus transfers. Concerns have been expressed about the likely Metrorail travel times between the airport and the core, and the capacity of the Metrorail system, as trains converge through Rosslyn and pass under the Potomac River. Could there be improvements that would provide faster service, expand the capacity, and also provide for greater flexibility for routing trains when service is disrupted, because of either incidents or planned major maintenance?
To attract riders, transit travel times need to “be competitive with” other travel options, yet setting that competitive bar at the level of auto travel times doesn’t seem to be necessary (nor is it readily achievable.) Reagan National Airport attracts many transit trips, even though driving times to the airport are generally shorter than by rail. While travel times need to be competitive, and a faster travel time would be more appealing and attract some more ridership, Metrorail to Dulles Airport will result in considerable transit usage by airport patrons and employees, not only to and from the core, but to Tysons Corner and other locations served by the Metrorail network.