Where Are Low-Income and Minority Metrorail Riders?

The demographics of Metrorail riders change dramatically station to station, and reflect the race and income divisions of our region.

As part of Metro’s Title VI program, we spend time making sure we don’t disproportionately impact low-income and minority riders when we change and deliver service, change fares, and other policy changes. Our 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey tells us a good deal of information about the race and income ranges of our riders, by where they are going, and when they travel.  We conduct this research ourselves, giving us an extremely robust dataset on our riders. These survey responses are a key source of data underlying our Title VI analyses. In many ways, these results confirm that our region remains a Region Divided by income and race – across a noticeable east-west divide.

The map below shows low-income Metrorail riders by origin station, for a typical weekday in May 2012. Metro defines low-income as a rider with a household income less than $30,000 per year. Low-income ridership is somewhat concentrated in several areas, such as the inner southeast Green Line, and inner stations on the eastern Blue and Orange lines. The Green Line between Prince George’s Plaza and Shaw-Howard is also home to relatively large proportions of low-income riders.

No single station is more than 45% low-income.

hghg

Average Metrorail ridership is 11% low-income, but can range from 3% to 40% station to station.

The next map shows minority Metrorail ridership by origin station, again for a weekday in May 2012. For Title VI purposes, a minority is defined as anyone who self-identifies as other than White, Non-Hispanic on our passenger survey. Minority ridership is concentrated most heavily on the eastern side of the rail network, but is also spread across other areas of the network as well – e.g., Wheaton and Glenmont, the Green-Yellow line. No single station is less than 22% minority.

Average Metrorail ridership is 42% minority, but the rail system shows an east-west divide, similar to the divisions facing our region. Some stations are over 90% minority ridership, while others are as low as 22%.

Average Metrorail ridership is 42% minority, but the rail system shows an east-west divide, similar to the divisions facing our region. Some stations are over 90% minority ridership, while others are as low as 22%.

We remain mindful of the travel patterns of low-income and minority riders, and use this data to help avoid disproportionate impacts to these riders when we make changes to the system. For example, we analyzed the impacts of the Silver Line at the passenger-trip level, looking at impacts and demographics at the individual origin-destination (O-D) pair level.

What patterns do you see here? Does anything jump out at you?

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts
Categories: Planning Studies > Metrorail Studies Tags:
  1. dcjwalkr
    October 10th, 2013 at 10:57 | #1

    Yep that is correct. A few years ago, you could simply draw a line on a map extending both directions straight up & down 16th street and more or less get the same results. The jobs, wealth and income would be mostly concentrated to the west except for a few spots. Maybe now you could shift that line a few streets east … would that be progress?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. SonnyJFan
    October 11th, 2013 at 15:19 | #2

    Lower income folks can’t afford to ride MetroRail.

    They take the bus.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. Matt Dickens
    October 18th, 2013 at 12:30 | #3

    Are the full results of the passenger survey going to be released at some point in one document?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Justin
    October 18th, 2013 at 14:51 | #4

    @Matt Dickens Unfortunately, it looks like the full data file will not be released. However, we’ll continue to release cross-tabs and other tidbits here. Did you have anything specific in mind?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Ab
    November 14th, 2013 at 16:34 | #5

    Seems to correlate with a lot of the major bus/rail transfer hubs which makes sense to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0