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).
Example of southbound Green Line passenger loads, May 1, 2013, 8am-9am
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.
Metro, in conjunction with Traffax, Inc., recently hosted a Bluetooth traffic monitoring test at Fort Totten station. Bluetooth technology has been used for years now, for monitoring vehicular traffic. Specifically, it has been used to provide travel time and origin-destination data, mostly in vehicular settings. Some pedestrian monitoring has been tested as well.
For Metro’s recent pilot, Bluetooth traffic monitoring was used to study pedestrian movements within a multi-level environment. The hope was that the Bluetooth data captured could tell stories about pedestrian flow within the station (including vertical movement), the train dwell times, train volumes, and the transfer rate between the Yellow/Green and Red lines. The latter is an area that WMATA is most interested in, since it is difficult to predict how people will ride Metro when given options. In this case, do people prefer transferring between Red and Yellow/Green at Fort Totten or at Gallery Place? This kind of data would make it easier for WMATA’s planning staff to better serve its customers by understanding true crowding levels on trains at peak load points.
It was estimated that 1 in 20 passengers’ movements would be captured in the pilot. The Bluetooth data sensors were placed in backpacks that Traffax employees were wearing. This initial data collection test will be used primarily to develop appropriate methods for analyzing such data, and to see what potential the data has for WMATA.
Inset of graphic showing top ten stations by absolute ridership growth, 2008 to 2012. Station #8, Morgan Boulevard, is off the map. Click the image above to download the full graphic in PDF.
While rail system ridership is up nearly 2% over 2008 levels, this growth in ridership is not spread evenly across the Metrorail service area. This map illustrates the locations of the stations in the top-ten for absolute ridership growth, 2008 to 2012.
In general, the Green Line corridor in DC is responsible for much of the station ridership increases.
Much of the ridership growth illustrated on the map can be attributed to redevelopment around some of our more recently opened stations, such as Georgia Ave-Petworth, Columbia Heights, Morgan Boulevard (off of image above), and NoMa-Gallaudet.
Additionally, redevelopment near Foggy Bottom-GWU, Waterfront and Shaw-Howard U has contributed to increased ridership at those stations.
The increase at Pentagon could be due to increased express bus and commuter bus activity, with federal workers heading to new BRAC-related work sites along the I-95/395 corridor.