RTSP Analyzing New Metrorail Lines in the Core and Virginia: Dispatch from TAG Meeting #10
This is the first post in a two-part series based on content from the tenth meeting with the Regional Transit System Plan (RTSP) Technical Advisory Group (TAG) that was held in July. This post will focus on our analysis of Metrorail capacity and crowding, while the second post will focus on identifying and prioritizing regionally significant surface transit corridors.
By 2040, ridership and crowding levels on Metrorail indicate the need for a new Blue Line and new Yellow line in the system’s core and a third line in Virginia.
At the time of our last post, we had run an initial round of four scenarios that sought to resolve regional mobility issues. We gathered a lot of information from the results, but realized that we needed to run a second round of scenarios focused almost entirely on Metrorail. Using MWCOG’s Cooperative Forecast Round 8.1 land use, which has been adopted by the region, and MWCOG’s Aspirations land use, which shifts more jobs and households into the regional activity centers, the maps below clearly demonstrate crowded conditions in 2040. The Base Network shown in these maps includes 100 percent eight-car trains and all the CLRP projects. Crowded conditions exist on the Orange Line west of Rosslyn, on the Yellow and Green Lines south of L’Enfant Plaza, and on the Silver Line west of Tysons. Because the results indicated that Metro would be severely crowded EVEN if we run the longest possible trains (eight-car trains), we wanted to explore other long-term solutions.
By keeping the surface transit network, such as light rail, streetcar, and bus rapid transit, essentially the same across the scenarios, we were able to vary the Metrorail network and fully understand the impacts of proposed improvements. The goals of the scenarios were to reduce crowding on Metrorail below adopted service standards, which is currently 100 passengers per car, as well as understand the impacts of adding Metrorail to currently underserved areas in the core and central jurisdictions of Washington, Arlington, and Alexandria. The four scenarios varied in degrees of geographic expansion and are shown below:
New River crossing with separated Blue and Yellow lines remaining in existing core
New River crossing with separated Blue and Yellow lines connecting Southeast, Southwest, and Union Station
New River crossing with Orange/Silver Express and separated Blue and Yellow lines remaining in existing core
New River crossing with separated Blue Line to Union Station, separated Yellow Line in the existing core, and a Light Rail connection between Northern Virginia and Union Station through Southeast and Southwest
What Did We Learn?
The four scenarios modeled focused on addressing how best to increase transit capacity to the system core to meet projected future demand. The performance of each scenario was evaluated against a set of measures to determine the relative effectiveness of each compared to the base network.
- Only Scenario C provided enough new capacity to bring crowding below 100 passengers per car on all links of the network. While this is the lower end of our adopted service standards, it does enable future development beyond 2040, which is a long-term planning goal.
- Scenario B provided better connectivity to underserved areas such as the waterfront, Navy Yard, and Union Station.
- All scenarios showed that transfers at Metro Center, Gallery Place, and L’Enfant Plaza would be below projected 2040 numbers. Rosslyn, however, showed an increase in transfers due to the second Rosslyn station proposed in every scenario.
For more information on scenario descriptions, measured results, and key findings download meeting materials: TAG 10 Presentation.
What do you think? Do you have a preferred scenario? What would you like to see for a Metrorail network in 2040 that is both realistic and visionary?
Post 2 outlines our approach to developing an integrated network of high capacity transit on the region’s significant corridors.