Photo of a 1969 1968 map of DC Transit System Inc routes. Many routes listed here are still running today.
WMATA bus began operations in 1973, when it consolidated the four Washington-region bus operators under one system and brand. As many commented in MindMixer, many of these lines were originally streetcar lines established in the late 19th century and majority of services were based in the inner areas.
The inclusion of old streetcar lines in the current Metrobus network informs a rich history about natural progression of transit network and the interaction between urban development and transit investment. The century-old streetcar investment helped develop those areas and transform them into transit-friendly markets. In return, these areas and corridors are among the most transit supportive markets today, generating high bus ridership.
Over the past 30 years, strong growth in jobs, population and urban development in the DC region continued to demand the expansion of bus transit service from the central core to suburbs, from traditional activity centers and corridors to the new or emerging local centers and corridors, some of which are near or beyond the edge of Metrobus market. Metro currently operates nearly 300 revenue bus routes organized into approximately 150 lines throughout the jurisdictions in the Metro compact area.
To better understand how the current Metrobus system serves travel needs in the DC region, Metro’s planners are conducting the Metrobus Market Effectiveness Study to identify market constraints and opportunities for Metrobus, and most importantly, strategically position Metrobus toward building an effective network that can better serve current and future demand, enhance productivity and efficiency, and improve integration between Metrobus and local services.
To improve the effectiveness and reliability of bus service, WMATA and DDOT recently initiated an operational analysis to explore bus-only lanes along H and I Streets NW, one of the busiest bus corridors in downtown Washington, DC. The study team recently completed the existing corridor conditions assessment and applied VisSim, a multi-modal traffic simulation tool, to identify and quantify the congestion impacts on buses as well as other roadway users, including pedestrians, bicyclists and private vehicles.
Currently, passengers traveling through the north mezzanine experience congestion on a daily basis. Imagine what would happen at the north mezzanine in the next 20 years, once Union Station’s local and intercity travel facilities have been expanded (including the planned streetcar terminating at 1st and H Streets NE) and the millions of square feet of planned development in the surrounding areas have been completed. Our analysis shows that pedestrian volume through the north mezzanine will increase by 60%.
The biggest challenge faced by Metro during this study was to identify feasible improvements that would provide enough capacity for all users while ensuring compatibility with building functions and historical characteristics. Metro worked with DDOT and Union Station stakeholders to develop two improvement alternatives: Partial Build and Full Build. These alternatives are illustrated in the animated graphic below, which rotates between existing conditions, partial build and full build every 15 seconds. Read more…
The Metrorail Station at Union Station is the busiest station in the Metrorail system, with 70,000 passengers entering and exiting daily. This station has experienced substantial ridership growth in the past three decades from the development of surrounding DC neighborhoods, expanded intercity travel and commuter rail’s growing popularity. The existing station, designed in the 70s, can no longer accommodate the current and future passenger travel. Passengers experience congestion on a daily basis.
In late 2009, Metro, in collaboration with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), initiated a Union Station Capacity and Access Improvements Study. The objective is to assess capacity deficiencies and develop alternatives to enhance pedestrian access, increase station capacity, reduce travel time and improve connectivity to the other transportation modes. To be able to compare the benefits of the proposed alternatives, Metro used a pedestrian simulation tool, developed by Legion, to quantify and assess the performance throughout the station’s north mezzanine under the current station conditions and with the proposed capacity improvements. We’ve put this post up so people can see the kinds of analysis tools Metro is using to evaluate station capacity and to visualize capacity and operating issues. Metro will be using the pedestrian simulation tool and analysis at other stations experiencing crowded conditions, such as the Gallery Place-Chinatown station.