Time for Those Walking Shoes, Part 2
Walk access to Metrorail has increased 15% over the last 5 years, especially from those living within a half-mile of the station.
So more rail riders are choosing to walk to their Metrorail station, according to the 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey. But who are these pedestrians?
Around 40% of Metrorail customers in the AM peak walk to the station. The survey found that younger people are much more likely to walk, with those under 35 were nearly twice as likely to walk to the train as those over 35:
However, younger Metrorail riders are also more likely to live within walking distance of their Metrorail station. Half of all riders under 35 live within a half-mile Metrorail, while 22% of those over 35 do. Younger people in our region generally are slightly more likely to live near Metrorail – 15% of everyone under 35 in the region lives within a half-mile of Metrorail, 12% for those over 35. The chart below shows how younger riders tend to live closer to Metrorail:
If we look at riders while holding walk distance constant, age becomes less of an explanation of riders’ willingness to walk. The chart below shows only riders who live a half-mile or one mile away from their station.
The vast majority of riders who live within a half-mile of the station walk, regardless of age. Younger people are slightly more willing to walk, all else equal. Younger people are more willing to take longer walks, as well.
What does this mean for Metro? Increased walking has implications for the future of Metro’s feeder bus, parking, and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to rail stations. One main question for Metro and the region is, Will the riders who are under 35 today will continue to walk to (and demand housing near) Metro, even as they age past 35? If this preference for walkability to transit continues to follow this cohort, we should expect to see continuing growth in walk access and demand for pedestrian connections.
What do you see in these numbers? What does this imply for our future?