Where Do Parking Customers Come From?
One-third of Metro parking customers drive from less than three miles to their station. But Metro’s importance can also be seen far across the greater Washington region, in this new visualization of parking customer’s origins.
Most Metrorail parking facilities primarily serve the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the station:
64%55% of parking customers come from less than five miles away, and 47%35% come from less than three miles away. However, some riders come from much farther away, particularly to end-of-line stations near major highways, such as Greenbelt, New Carrollton, and Vienna.
With approximately 60,000 parking spaces, Metro is one of the region’s largest parking operators. Our 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey provides good insight into the travel patterns of rail customers, including those who drove and parked at any of Metro’s 35 stations offering daily parking. These parking customers represent around 15% of all rail trips on a typical weekday.
Where do parking customers come from? The map below shows the estimated origin of parking customers, by half-mile square. The yellow and orange colors show that some customers come from as far away as Baltimore, Dale City, and Frederick – but the darker red colors show that the majority of customers are clustered near the rail stations.
Here is the same map, focused more closely on Metro’s service area:
Note that this analysis uses distance as-the-crow-flies, not via a street network, so actual distance driven is likely somewhat longer.
Update, 7/2/2013: due to an arithmetic error on our part, we had been over-stating short-distance parking customers as a share of the total. We fixed the error and replaced the green bar chart above with a corrected version.
What patterns do you see in this data? What jumps out at you? Does this information about the role of Metrorail parking surprise you? Let us know in the comments!