‘Planning Studies’

Where are the Late Night Metrobus Riders?

August 27th, 2014 1 comment

The majority of late night bus boardings are in DC, focused along the 14th/16th Streets NW corridor.

As we’ve mentioned before, Metro is conducting a study examining late night bus service in the region.  An initial step was to assess where the late night boardings are happening in order to determine which might be the best locations to focus in-person survey efforts.  Below is a map showing the locations of the top 100 locations where riders board Metrobus from 11pm-4am each night.  Rather than reflecting the total ridership of a stop, the magnitude of the circles on the map reflect that location’s share of overall late night bus ridership.

Top 100 Late Night Metrobus Boarding Locations

Top 100 Late Night Metrobus Boarding Locations*

Some notes on the map:

  • Almost all of the major bus boarding locations (those with more than 1% of the total) are at Metrorail Stations, even though Metrorail stops operating just one hour into the late night period on weeknights.
  • Not surprisingly, most of the boardings are in DC, many of which are concentrated in the 16th/14th St NW corridor from downtown to Columbia Heights.
  • The data only reflect Metrobus boardings, so if boardings on local operators such as DC Circulator are added, the total numbers of late night bus boardings would be higher than what is shown here.
  • Of course this only tells us where the riders are boarding, not necessarily where they’re going; we are investigating that as part of the study.

What do you see that stands out?

* Note that Southern Avenue Metro Station replaced 14th & U Street as an in-person rider survey location.

Categories: Metrobus Studies Tags: , ,

A Half-Mile Walk to the Nearest Metrorail Station, Mapped

August 4th, 2014 19 comments

Here’s a map showing the walkable area around the nearest Metrorail station.

eGISBaseLTR_RailPedSheds NonOverlap

Did you ever wonder which Metrorail station is closest? Where’s the breakeven point between two stations? This map shows the areas you can actually reach within a half-mile walk along the roadway network, as we described previously. The twist this time is that I disallowed “overlap” within the GIS network analysis, so land is allotted to the closest station only, calculated by network walk distance.

What do you see in this map?  Here’s a regional view with all stations, as well.

Update 9/2/2014: the GIS source file for this map is now available for download, in geodatabase (.gdb) format.

Study Recommends New Mezzanine to Connect Red/Purple at Silver Spring

July 10th, 2014 3 comments

To handle future ridership demand, Silver Spring may need a new mezzanine to connect Metrorail to the planned Purple Line light rail station.

Last year, we began a study looking at potential station capacity issues at Silver Spring.  The assessment determined that the demand at the Silver Spring Metrorail station (entries and exits) is adequately served by the existing station infrastructure.   Since then, the study has assessed the future conditions that will be impacted both by ridership growth due to growth of jobs and households in the station area, but also the arrival of the Purple Line light rail to Silver Spring.

Purple Line station and potential Metrorail connection at Silver Spring.  Source, purplelinemd.com, PDF.

Purple Line station and potential Metrorail connection at Silver Spring. Source, purplelinemd.com, PDF.

The Purple Line station at Silver Spring is planned as an elevated platform and mezzanine, with the mezzanine connecting to the top floor of Silver Spring Transit Center, Metropolitan Branch Trail, and  Ripley Street to the south.   The elevated light rail platform will be approximately 80 feet above the street, about the height of the current MARC pedestrian bridge.  The MTA design team envisioned a possible direct connection between Metrorail and the Purple Line, as illustrated in the red shape in the center of the above image.  Without such a connection, riders transferring between Metrorail and the Purple Line at Silver Spring would have to descend those 80 feet to the ground level, enter an existing Metrorail mezzanine, and then ascend again to the Red Line platform. Read more…

New Blue Line Connections Revisited

July 3rd, 2014 23 comments

A recent Metro study determined that a Rosslyn bypass is infeasible but a second Metrorail station in Rosslyn to restore frequent peak period Blue Line service is possible.

In a post last year describing the strategies in Metro 2025, we described some options for new Blue Line connections.  The first was a Rosslyn bypass that would allow some Blue Line trains to connect directly to the Orange Line at Court House.  The second was a second Rosslyn station that would connect to the current Rosslyn station via an underground walkway.  Both of these options, illustrated in the graphics below, would allow increased frequencies on the Blue Line during peak periods.

Graphic for Rosslyn Interline ConnectionGraphic for Second Rosslyn Station

Metro recently completed a study that evaluated these two options.  The bad news is that the Rosslyn bypass (interline connection) was deemed infeasible.  This is due to the location of building foundations and the turning radius required by the track.

However, the second Rosslyn station was deemed feasible, as illustrated in the map below.

second_rosslyn

Location for a proposed second Rosslyn Station, including three potential options for a pedestrian walkway.

This new Metrorail station would connect to the current Rosslyn station via one underground walkway.

Metro Office of Planning is submitting the second Rosslyn station for project development funding.

 

Less Stop, More Go: The 23 Line

June 2nd, 2014 4 comments
Customers boarding the 23A at Ballston

Customers boarding the 23A at Ballston

The distance between stops is of key concern to Metro and its customers. More closely spaced stops provide customers with more convenient access, as they are likely to experience a shorter walk to the nearest bus stop. However, closely-spaced stops are also likely to result in a longer ride for customers because of the number of times the bus stops — to decelerate, come to a complete stop and then accelerate and re-merge into traffic — is increased. This also can lead to increased fuel and maintenance costs.

Having fewer stops along a bus route benefits passengers not only by reducing the time it takes for them to make their trip, but by making the service more reliable and predictable.

Read more…

Less Stop, More Go: The 30s Line

June 2nd, 2014 13 comments
Boarding the 30s Line at Friendship Heights

Boarding the 30s Line at Friendship Heights

The distance between stops is of key concern to Metro and its customers. More closely spaced stops provide customers with more convenient access, as they are likely to experience a shorter walk to the nearest bus stop. However, closely-spaced stops are also likely to result in a longer ride for customers because of the number of times the bus stops — to decelerate, come to a complete stop and then accelerate and re-merge into traffic — is increased.  This can lead to degraded service quality for bus passengers and increased maintenance, and operating costs for Metro.

Having fewer stops along a bus route can benefit passengers not only by reducing the time it takes for them to make their trip, but also by making the service more reliable and predictable.  When stops are analyzed, several factors will cause them to be taken out of consideration for removal.  These reasons include stops in front of a school, house of worship, community center, senior housing, park, transfer point, or other popular amenities.  These bus stops will not be removed irrespective of usage.

Read more…

Late Night Metrobus Survey Underway

April 14th, 2014 10 comments

Late Night Survey Logo

Metro is conducting rider surveys in support of a new study examining late night bus service, generally defined as operating between 11pm and 4am, with a focus on Metrobus service generally inside the Beltway and during the time period after Metrorail closes (after midnight during the week and 3am on weekends).  The study will examine the performance of existing late night Metrobus service, connections among bus routes and between late-night activity centers (see map below), and the potential for 24-hour bus service, and for branding late-night bus service.  The study will also make recommendations for near-term service improvements.  Riders of many of the most heavily used Metrobus routes may have noticed surveyors at major bus stops as in-person surveys were conducted from approximately 11pm to 4am over the past week. Read more…

2014 Metrobus Survey is Expected to Commence on March 18

March 12th, 2014 2 comments

Bus Ballston Fall  110811-72

 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…

Study of Metrobus Operations in Multimodal Corridors Completed

March 4th, 2014 4 comments

New Metro study evaluates best practices for the coordination of bus service with new, street-running rail services.

What's old is new again! Capital Transit vehicles sharing the road  in 1947.

What’s old is new again! Capital Transit vehicles sharing the road in 1947.

In the Washington region, bus rapid transit (BRT), light rail transit (LRT) and streetcar (SC) systems are currently under study or construction on major transit corridors in every jurisdiction.  Each is being planned by a different agency with different sets of goals and aspirations. Most of these corridors currently are already served by Metrobus and have heavy bus ridership.  All of these projects can leave a bus planner wondering how all of these modes will work together and with the existing Metrobus system.

Some existing riders will be fully served by the new service; however, many others will require a combination of existing bus service and the new fixed route transit to reach their final destinations.  As transit professionals, the ability for our customers to navigate seamlessly though the region via transit, regardless of the mode or operator, is our ultimate goal.   Towards that end, we have been working on a set of guidelines for the operations planning of buses and new modes traveling in the same corridors. Read more…

Less Stop, More Go: Routes 96/97, Part 2

December 13th, 2013 3 comments

Metro bus planning proposes 22 bus stops for removal along the 96/97 routes.

96-97 stop consolidation

East Capitol Street, looking east-southeast just west of Capitol Heights Station, where two east-bound and one west-bound bus stop are proposed for removal.

In September, WMATA selected 27 stops for consideration to discontinue on the 96/97 route to provide faster service.  All 27 stops are within a block or two of another stop.   The list was posted on this blog, and wmata.com.  Notices were posted at the affected stops, and WMATA met with representatives of council members’ offices whose districts are served by the two routes, and corresponding ANCs in September 2013.  There was a month-long period where members of the public commented on the list via phone, email, and blog post.

Following the public feedback, five bus stops that had been under consideration will remain in service:

  • East Capitol Street & 15th Street NE/SE, eastbound and westbound, due to the proximity to the Center City Charter School Capitol Hill
  • Woodley Road & 35th Street NW, eastbound and westbound, due to their proximity to The Beauvoir, The National Cathedral Elementary School, and
  • East Capitol Street & 52nd Street SE, eastbound, due to its location in front of the Episcopal Church of the Atonement.

In total, 22 bus stops will be discontinued, 12% of the total stops on the 96/97 route.   Maps showing the bus stops to be removed at the December 29, 2013 service change are shown below. Two weeks prior to the service change, notices will be posted at the affected stops informing customers of the change.  The notice will also include information on next closest bus stops.

The bus stops that will be discontinued are: Read more…