About This Site
PlanItMetro is the planning blog of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro). This site will be used to post regular updates on the many planning activities of the Office of Planning (PLAN) and other related offices, and gather feedback on our work from the online community. This site is not intended to replace the current Planning and Development page on the current Metro website, which will continue to host final reports of plans and studies as they are released to the public.
- Considerate and constructive comments on any blog posts here are welcome and encouraged, and inappropriate comments will be removed.
- Metro staff will attempt to reply to questions and suggestions posted as comments, as deemed appropriate. However, Metro is under no obligation to respond to any feedback received through this site.
- Customer complaints and other non-planning feedback should be directed to the appropriate channel, as described on the Contact Metro page of the wmata.com website.
The Office of Planning is responsible for all long-range planning within Metro, with an eye towards implementing capacity and service improvements to both Metrorail and Metrobus, and advancing transit expansion projects that are best aligned with Metro’s vision and goals. PLAN is divided up into the following four teams.
Regional & Strategic Planning
The Regional and Strategic Planning branch develops Metro’s long-range vision plan and represents Metro on technical groups to provide information and to influence the studies, plans and programs of regional agencies and localities, especially at the Transportation Planning Board (TPB). Examples of such multi-corridor studies and plans are Greater Washington 2050, the DC Streetcar Study and Northern Virginia’s TransAction2040. A top current priority is the development of a long-range regional transit plan that addresses core capacity, regional transit integration, transit priority on roadways, and system access. This branch also coordinates and advocates Metro’s six-year program and long-range plan submittals to the TPB that are essential for funding, and represents Metro on TPB committees in order to best advance Metro’s interests. The program also develops and updates PLAN’s material on Metro’s intranet and internet website.
Access Planning & Policy Analysis
The Access Planning and Policy Analysis branch develops and utilizes analytic tools and methods to evaluate current policies and practices related to system access. Key functions include accessibility and paratransit support, bicycle and pedestrian planning, transit-oriented development analysis, transit equity analyses / Title VI, sustainability policy, and the development of GIS and Transit Databases. Top current priorities are developing and applying a methodology to evaluate Title VI impacts of service changes related to the budget, per federal requirements, and evaluate bus stop needs related to accessibility and infrastructure improvements. The Access Planning branch also is developing a long-range bicycle and pedestrian improvements program to fit within existing planning frameworks, and manages Metro’s revenue producing car sharing program.
Corridor Planning & Development
The Corridor Planning and Development branch manages the progressive development of new Metrorail extensions and Metrobus priority corridors through the phases of feasibility studies, alternatives analyses, environmental evaluation, financial analyses, preliminary engineering, plus public involvement and agency coordination. In effect, the corridor planning branch prepares projects for final design and for full funding by satisfying WMATA Compact and Federal requirements.The branch particularly studies and supports the implementation of transit signal priority and running way improvements for Metrobus priority corridors. For the modes of light rapid transit (LRT), streetcar and bus rapid transit (BRT), projects of which are presently sponsored by state or local governments, the branch participates in current studies and presents Metro interests, especially in regards to intermodal transfer at Metrorail stations and in service adjustments of Metrobus service.The corridor planning branch also contributes to current efforts to integrarte interoperability strategies study for the LRT and streetcar systems, so that the region’s diverse projects may have common vehicles, power systems, etc.
Capital & Systems Planning
The Capital and Systems Planning branch is responsible for Metro’s bus and rail system evaluation and planning to develop plans for network and facility expansion through collaboration with operations units. This group leads the development of Metro’s long-term capital enhancement and investment plans through participation and collaboration of involved departments, including the capital needs inventory and prioritization, bus and rail fleet and garage/yard plans, and Metrorail core capacity enhancement feasibility studies (station capacity expansion, pedestrian tunnels and interline connection alternatives). Other responsibilities include providing system planning and technical support for Metro’s participation in the regional planning process through COG’s Travel Forecasting Subcommittee and regional corridor development studies, and conducting technical analysis to support short-term operations and planning such as visual simulation, transit ridership trend and market analysis, ridership forecasting, Metrorail line load application and cost-benefit economic analysis.