Metro is pleased to announce that the 2014 “Metrobus Survey” is officially complete. Stay tuned for results.
Latest version of Line Load tool will feature modeled car-crowding numbers.
Many factors influence which car number of a Metrorail train a customer rides. Infrequent riders may wait for the train near the escalator and board the nearest rail car. Savvier customers may prefer to ensure they are the first to exit at their destination station or have an shorter walk at a transfer station. Others may board cars based on understanding where seats are more likely to be available. All of this activity can result in uneven loading of Metrorail cars across a given train, with some rail cars crowded and others near empty.
As we mentioned in 2013, the Office of Planning has an in-house tool that allows planners to estimate how crowded trains are based on origin-destination ridership data. Currently we are in the midst of a few updates, which will include the Silver Line that opened last year. Another of the new features that we are excited about is a rail car crowding analysis for the system’s most critical segments. Based on over six months of rail car-crowding data that was collected at selected stations by rail passenger “checkers,” the train-based ridership data will be distributed across the cars so we can estimate what kind of crowding we have by car number, at the peak load points. The following graph illustrates the observed car crowding variations at Gallery Place.
Customers may experience crowded conditions even when the average rail passenger per car (PPC) numbers (PDF) would indicate otherwise. This new feature is an important addition that will help Metro planners better understand the customer experience. The car crowding analysis will begin to identify which cars of a train tend to be crowded in the peak hours, and which are less crowded. This information will the be used as a starting point for devising strategies for better spreading customers across all cars of a train.
How do you choose which rail car you ride in? Other than berthing trains at the center of the platform (see this informative article over at Greater Greater Washington on that topic), what strategies might Metro consider to better balance customers across rail cars?
Old freight railroad tracks in Astoria, Oregon become a major tourist attraction, with the installation of an old historical trolley train.
Astoria, Oregon was once slated to be the largest port on the west coast of the United States. Well situated at the mouth of the Columbia River, there was booming trade — fur trade early on, and later fishing, fish canning, and timber — with its deep water port and connection to the Pacific Ocean. In fact, Astoria had the first US Post Office west of the Rocky Mountains. For about 100 years, from the late 1800s, Astoria was an economic center with its port, but by the mid 1970s, the economy had tanked with the decline of canneries and timber. Read more…
The 2014 Metrobus Survey will commence on March 18, 2014. This survey will take place during Spring and Fall of 2014 covering every Metrobus route, in all jurisdictions. If you receive a survey, please fill it out on paper or online. If you have any questions, please ask the surveyor, or feel free to call the toll free number on the survey.
The primary purpose of the survey is to gather data to support operating and planning activities and for calculating jurisdictional subsidy allocations. The survey is also being conducted to meet Federal Transit Administration’s Title VI regulations. Metro reports ridership coming from each of the eight jurisdictions in the Metro service area, and the survey provides the most scientific approach to estimate ridership by jurisdiction.
Additionally, we are asking about employer-related transit benefits received by our riders. The 2014 survey differentiates between fully subsidized and partially subsidized riders, expanding our understanding of how our riders make decisions related to fares.
Our 2012 Metrorail Survey raised a lot of questions that we answered here on PlanItMetro. We’ve pasted those questions and answers here, as they should be helpful during this year’s Metrobus Survey, as well as some 2014 Metrobus Survey-specific questions.
The last full survey of Metrobus ridership was conducted in 2008.
Feel free to ask any additional questions that we’ve missed in the comments section below and we will try to respond as best we can.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: The survey started on March 18, but I haven’t received a form yet. When will you survey my bus route?
A: This survey uses statistical methods to capture a representative sample of our ridership. On a given day, survey forms are being given out on selected bus routes. To ensure that the survey remains statistically representative, we do not disclose the survey schedule to the public. Read more…
While waiting for a Metro train one day in Singapore, I noticed their rail map diagram had a big white space and then the rest of the map. Upon closer inspection the ‘white’ part was actually a grayed out part of the rail map showing the route the train had already covered. Having that information is very useful, particularly for a traveler unfamiliar with the system. One knows if they are starting at this particular station (Paya Lebar), what their options might be if he/she actually wanted to go in the opposite direction. This information gives the rider a helpful reference point in relationship to the rest of the system. Also upon closer inspection I saw that the map gave expected travel times between stations. How great is that?
I was recently in Singapore for vacation and while I was there I used their delightfully clean and efficient rail system (more on that later). While walking through the stations, I spotted several movie posters, which actually happened to be posters for YouTube-based public information message ‘movies’. The movies are put out by the Land Transport Authority, which is a part of the government that does the planning for their transit systems.
Can you move in please? leaves viewers with two messages: 1. move to the back of the bus so that everyone can get on, and 2. take off your backpack or move any bags you may have out of the way. Some of the movie is lost in translation I think culturally speaking but still, you get the point.
Excuse me, May I have a seat please? is about exactly what the title suggests. This movie especially rings true in this day and age as a lot of commuters have their noses buried in their books and cell phones (even more prevalent in Singapore – a lot of people walking in stations and outside while watching movies!!).
The courtesy issues that Singapore is tackling rings true here in DC too, as well as any city that has transit.
Our new “Line-Load Application” is expected to provide more accurate reports of system crowding by segment.
We recently finished testing a new version of the Line Load Application, a custom-developed application that distributes the load of passengers across the Metrorail system based on their points of entry and exit. This application allows us to estimate the passenger loads on rail system per segment (rail between stations). It is very important for Metro to be able to track the passengers per car across the rail system, both for peak hours on average weekdays and before and after special events. Because the new system is based on rail schedules, each passenger is assigned to an individual car for the assessment of passengers per car (PPC).
Our current method of assessing passenger crowding is by stationing rail passenger counting personnel at key stations during peak periods, approximately twice per month per station. Because the inputs to the new application are faregate entry and exit data, this application is providing data like Metro has never seen before, including load factors and passengers per car for all stations at all times of the day.
Upon review, the output data from this tool appears to match expectations of passenger loads at major checkpoints in the system during peak periods with no disruptions. Output from this tool covering non-core checkpoints and non-peak periods will be validated soon.
In the next phase of improvements for this application, we will work to incorporate actual train arrival and departure times as an alternative to using schedules. This will allow us to understand the actual conditions our customers experience during service disruptions or after special events.
The completion of the development of the Line Load application comes at a point in time when Metro is striving to increase safety and relieve the crowding on the rail system, both of which are major topics of our new strategic plan, Momentum.
The CLI is an educational program put on by the TPB that brings together community leaders and educates them on the regional issues as well as how the transportation decision making process works for this region. The program takes place over the course of three workshops.
The CLI is an excellent way to meet new people in the region who are interested in transportation issues, as well as a way to learn about the challenges that the region currently faces. The latter was especially brought out in the two presentations on ‘What if the Washington Region Grew Differently? – Regional Challenges & Exploring Options’. The group exercise for this portion of the Institute included having to work with other members of your assigned team to decide where household and employment growth was going to occur throughout the region, and where the transportation improvements should be located to accommodate this growth. That was easy enough. However, right after that, all the groups were told that they would have to pay for the transportation improvements they had asked for earlier and that’s when people realized how expensive transportation improvements are and how difficult it can be to work with people who have different transportation priorities. Read more…
They proposed the plan to reduce crowding and meet growing ridership needs (In September, they announced that “CTA ridership has risen 16 straight months, adding 22 million riders since June 2011.”) The original plan essentially:
- added service to 48 high ridership bus routes
- added 17 rail trips to the Red, Blue, Green, Purple, Brown, and Orange lines during weekday rush hour
- added rail trips to the Red, Brown, and Blue lines during weekend service
- discontinued service on 12 low ridership bus routes (or duplicative)
- discontinued service on 4 bus route segments (the entire bus route was not axed).
These service changes went into effect mid-December, 2012. The reasoning behind the addition of service and discontinuation of service was justified by the fact that the high ridership bus and rail routes represent more than 75% of the average daily ridership while the discontinued routes only represented less than 2% of its average daily ridership. Additionally, for the discontinued routes, there was another transit option nearby, such as a rail line, or another bus route. These cuts were also closely coordinated with the suburban bus company, Pace.
This video of the Vancouver SkyTrain (Expo Line), then (1986, in time for Expo 86) and now (2012), was making the transit news rounds.
We thought we’d share it, because it reminded us of Arlington, and the growth that’s occurred since the Orange Line opened there in the late 1970s. If the Orange Line was above ground, then someone could’ve made a similar video! In the meantime we’ll have to stick to pictures to compare how the landscape has changed since the introduction of the Orange Line. High rises sprouting up and general development with the addition of rail is the common theme here.
Enjoy the ride!