TAG Meeting #9: RTSP Phase II: Review of Round 1 Scenario Results

In September, we presented to the TAG the results of the first round of scenarios modeled in the second phase of the RTSP study.  Scenarios are defined by a collection of strategies or projects identified in the initial phase of the RTSP.  The four scenarios tested focused on maximizing the existing infrastructure, expanding surface transit, expanding transit in the core, and expanding transit system wide.  The performance of each scenario was evaluated against a set of measures to determine the relative effectiveness of each compared to the baseline scenario, defined by the regional list of projects in the currently adopted Constrained Long Range Plan, and MWCOG Cooperative Forecasts Round 8.0 land use.

Phase II Process Overview: Click to Enlarge

Regional measures such as total transit trips, mode share, vehicle miles traveled, households and jobs within a half-mile of transit, travel time savings, and transit congestion were evaluated to not only determine how well the scenarios performed against each other over the baseline, but to assess how well each satisfied the goals and objectives of the RTSP.  In addition to these broad-based regional measures, the first round of scenario modeling focused on how well each scenario addressed the need to expand capacity within the system core.  Peak period Metrorail link capacity and transfer activity at key core stations were measured against the baseline scenario to determine if the potential build scenarios could provide sufficient capacity to serve future demand, and how well such added capacity could be utilized.

For more information on scenario descriptions, measured results, and key findings download meeting materials: TAG 9 Presentation of Results

In addition to scenario results, we presented an outline to Metro’s strategic plan, Momentum, and its integration with the RTSP.  The RTSP is focused on short- and long-term infrastructure needs in the core and on better connecting communities in the region. It is also operator-neutral and includes infrastructure that Metro likely won’t operate, such as local bus services, commuter bus, and commuter rail. Momentum is focused solely on Metro – the organization, its operations, and infrastructure. It will be the organization’s framework to deliver quality service, meet growing needs, and lead the creation of transit-connected communities for the future. In summary, Momentum incorporates much of the RTSP, while also being broader in its scope.

Outreach is underway for Momentum and the RTSP. The General Manager/CEO  and senior leadership at Metro are engaging elected and public officials, the business community, and community groups in discussing the next generation of Metro. Additionally, a rider survey and MindMixer, an online community engagement tool, are underway to gather inputs from you, our riders. Tell us your ideas about transit’s future. Where are the missing transit links? What do you think our priorities should be for future infrastructure investments? What areas should be better connected? What concepts that work in other cities should we use here? Your input matters, and we’re listening.

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  1. jnb
    November 2nd, 2012 at 16:18 | #1

    On slide 7, are the percentage changes absolute or relative percentage changes — i.e, 1% ==> 6%, is that a 5% gain or a 600% gain?

    Also, you might want to clarify that “RAC” means “Regional Activity Center” in the early slides…

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    • Danielle
      November 9th, 2012 at 10:37 | #2

      jnb- We’re seeing changes on the order of 5 – 15%, not 600%. Thanks for your interest!

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  2. jnb
    November 2nd, 2012 at 17:32 | #3

    Point about Slide 9 – The loads shown are averages assuming smooth boarding and alighting, perfect frequencies, etc. In fact, it is difficult to imagine Metro operating 100% 8-car trains with perfectly choreographed interlining and passenger loads in transfer stations permitting reasonable dwell times, so I think it’s fair to view the loadings as shown as an absolute best case.

    But if you could address that point, it would be very helpful.

    Slide 13 – Can you explain the difference between “differentiator” and “non-differentiator” measures of effectiveness (MOE)?

    Slide 15 – Would it make sense to include in these slides the percent of bike and ped activity associated with each scenario (or does that not change from scenario to scenario)? The point is that while Metro is evaluating particular transit investments, the region is trying to figure out how a whole package of growth and investment is performing, and transit service enables the growth of communities that are more walkable and bikeable – so a higher transit mode share should be “leveraged” by a more than proportionally reduced amount of SOV auto travel.

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  3. Mark Kellogg
    December 17th, 2012 at 16:18 | #4

    jnb: some responses (belatedly, sad to say) to your several points

    re: passenger loads, these numbers represent a peak-hour average across a total of about 100 cars, with (usually) 26 trains operating, each having 8 cars. Because there won’t be a mix of short and long trains, passengers will likely spread out more when trains are crowded. Nonethless, if the average is 100 passengers per car, some cars will have fewer, and others will be very crowded. If a lot of cars are very crowded, the average per car could be higher than 100, but as you point out, the time required for boarding and alighting, especially at major transfer points, puts the frequency of 26 trains per hour at risk.

    re: “differentiator” and “non-differentiator” measures of effectiveness (MOEs), when the goals, objectives and MOEs were developed, the total number of MOEs came to 20-something. The numbers for the some of the MOEs were found to be insignificantly different. Also, sometimes the numbers for one MOE followed virtually the same pattern across the scenarios as did another MOE, such that the second MOE provide very little insight. As such these MOEs with insignificant differences or little additional insight were labeled “non-differentiator”. In retrospect, having 20-some MOEs was over-reaching but, until the scenarios were modeled, it was difficult to see that and what to do about it.

    re: bike and ped activity, you make a good point that transit as part of community building that is focused also on bicycling and walking can have synergistic benefits. While we didn’t model these transit scenarios in combination with any variations in the adopted land-use forecast and forecasted network of sidewalks, we’re looking into doing so for the second round of scenarios that we plan to analyze and evaluate.

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