‘Planning Studies’

Late Night Metrobus Survey Underway

April 14th, 2014 6 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 No 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…

H and I Streets Bus Improvements Study — Final Technical Report Released

November 14th, 2013 6 comments

Metro has released the final technical report of the H and I Streets Bus Improvements Study, making a compelling case for traffic management improvements and bus lane alternatives in the region’s most heavily traveled bus corridor.

Congestion on I Street caused by bottleneck at 17th Street, creating long queues backing up to 15th Street.

Congestion on I Street caused by bottleneck at 17th Street, creating long queues backing up to 15th Street.

DC’s downtown core is a vibrant community, with 380,000 jobs today and significant residential and retail development in the coming decade. While growth will transform the core and create opportunities, it is likely to increase the burden on the transportation network that is already strained by the closure of Pennsylvania Ave.

Today, all users—drivers, bus passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists—experience congestion during peak periods.  Besides high-volume traffic in the corridor, the constant friction among buses, vehicles and delivery trucks further aggravates travel experience.  For bus passengers, the current corridor congestion severely affects travel time and service reliability—a short bus ride on I Street from 13th St to 19th St could take more than 10-15 minutes during rush hours.

Metro and DDOT collectively launched the H and I Streets Bus Improvements Study last year to explore bus improvements on H and I Streets NW in the downtown core, the region’s most heavily traveled and most productive bus corridor.  The study investigated traffic management improvements and bus-only lane options with the objective of providing reliable and efficient bus service and alleviating Metrorail core congestion through innovative surface transit improvements.

The technical report is available for download (PDF) and posted on Metro’s Planning and Development webpage.

Four bus improvement options developed for analysis, as described and illustrated below: Read more…

Categories: Planning Studies Tags: , ,

Love Your Bus Stop: A New Approach to Public Outreach

October 23rd, 2013 No comments

If someone gave you money to fix up Metrobus stops in our region, what would you spend it on? Metro is trying new ways to get customers involved in answering that very question. 

Love Your Bus Stop campaign logo

Love Your Bus Stop campaign logo

Metro recently launched the ‘Love Your Bus Stop’ Campaign, and is encouraging customers to express their preferences and desires on how bus stops can be improved through a Bus Stop Improvement Survey. The results of the survey, which asks existing and potential riders to rank a variety of bus stop amenities, will help Metro better understand the public’s preferences for bus stop features and allow them to prioritize future investments in bus stop improvements. The Federal Transit Administration’s Livable Communities Initiative awarded Metro nearly $2 million for this project shortly after Metro completed an extensive inventory of the system’s bus stops. This funding source will be the first to be deployed using this new dataset of public preferences, and future funding will be able to draw upon the data as well to create improvements that the public wants to see most.

The Bus Stop Improvement Survey and associated outreach campaign are designed to be accessible to all Metrobus riders with a particular focus on reaching minority, low-income, and Limited English Proficiency populations. The Love Your Bus Stop Campaign is designed to reach these communities through three distinct strategies:

  • Event-based outreach;
  • Print, radio and digital media strategy; and
  • Targeted outreach to community-based organizations.

Read more…

Where Are Low-Income and Minority Metrorail Riders?

October 9th, 2013 5 comments

The demographics of Metrorail riders change dramatically station to station, and reflect the race and income divisions of our region.

As part of Metro’s Title VI program, we spend time making sure we don’t disproportionately impact low-income and minority riders when we change and deliver service, change fares, and other policy changes. Our 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey tells us a good deal of information about the race and income ranges of our riders, by where they are going, and when they travel.  We conduct this research ourselves, giving us an extremely robust dataset on our riders. These survey responses are a key source of data underlying our Title VI analyses. In many ways, these results confirm that our region remains a Region Divided by income and race – across a noticeable east-west divide.

The map below shows low-income Metrorail riders by origin station, for a typical weekday in May 2012. Metro defines low-income as a rider with a household income less than $30,000 per year. Low-income ridership is somewhat concentrated in several areas, such as the inner southeast Green Line, and inner stations on the eastern Blue and Orange lines. The Green Line between Prince George’s Plaza and Shaw-Howard is also home to relatively large proportions of low-income riders.

No single station is more than 45% low-income.

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Average Metrorail ridership is 11% low-income, but can range from 3% to 40% station to station.

The next map shows minority Metrorail ridership by origin station, again for a weekday in May 2012. For Title VI purposes, a minority is defined as anyone who self-identifies as other than White, Non-Hispanic on our passenger survey. Minority ridership is concentrated most heavily on the eastern side of the rail network, but is also spread across other areas of the network as well – e.g., Wheaton and Glenmont, the Green-Yellow line. No single station is less than 22% minority.

Average Metrorail ridership is 42% minority, but the rail system shows an east-west divide, similar to the divisions facing our region. Some stations are over 90% minority ridership, while others are as low as 22%.

Average Metrorail ridership is 42% minority, but the rail system shows an east-west divide, similar to the divisions facing our region. Some stations are over 90% minority ridership, while others are as low as 22%.

We remain mindful of the travel patterns of low-income and minority riders, and use this data to help avoid disproportionate impacts to these riders when we make changes to the system. For example, we analyzed the impacts of the Silver Line at the passenger-trip level, looking at impacts and demographics at the individual origin-destination (O-D) pair level.

What patterns do you see here? Does anything jump out at you?

Categories: Metrorail Studies Tags:

Improving Bus Service with ‘Less Stop, More Go’

October 3rd, 2013 11 comments

Bus- Boarding DC 119 052406 WMATA Photo by Larry Levine 5-24-06The 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.

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.  Customer benefit is maximized when the only stops considered for removal have low average weekday ridership for boarding and alighting. We have chosen the 96/97 line, known as the East Capitol Street-Cardozo line, which runs between Capitol Heights Station, Stadium-Armory Station, Union Station, U Street Station, Woodley Park Station, and Tenleytown Station.  Some of the bus stops in the Woodley Park area are also served by the X3 route.

Read more…

2013 Bicycle Parking Census at Metrorail Stations

September 9th, 2013 6 comments

Bicycles parked at racks at Metrorail stations inched up again this year, and Union Station is now Metro’s number-one station for bicycle access.

Union Station is now the busiest Metrorail station for bicycle access.

Union Station is now the busiest Metrorail station for bicycle access.

Using bike rack counts – one of two ways we gauge bike-to-rail access – bikes parked at Metrorail stations increased by 1% in the last year.  The number of bike racks increased 20% over the same time period. (The second measurement of bike access from theMetrorail Passenger Survey was published last week here).

Some highlights:

  • Overall bikes parked is up slightly above 2012.  However, we observed each station only once or twice, so it is difficult to discern long-term trends from short-term variation so far.
  • Union Station is now the single biggest station for bicycle access, not including bikes parked  inside the BikeStation there. We counted 130 bikes at that station, well beyond the capacity at racks.
  • Bike parking capacity is up 20% since 2012, including the College Park Bike & Ride. Metro now has space for over 5,000 bicycles at stations. We (and our partners) continue to add bike parking capacity to stay on track to reach our goal of 7,000 bicyclists by 2020.
  • Bike use increased at several major stations such as East Falls Church, Vienna, Greenbelt, and NoMa, but decreased at other stations such as King Street, Braddock Road, and Franconia-Springfield.
  • Bicycle numbers remained about even at several perennial heavy-hitters like Medical Center, Takoma, Grosvenor, and Columbia Heights.
2011 2012 2013 2011-12 Change 2012-13 Change
Parked Bicycles 2,196 2,271 2,285 3% 1%
Bike Rack Capacity 3,544 4,239 5,136 20% 21%

Read more…

Categories: Planning Studies Tags: ,

Silver Spring Capacity Analysis Study Under Way

September 6th, 2013 No comments

Metro is addresses crowding, integration of Purple Line in new Silver Spring Capacity Analysis.

Metro staff have recently kicked off a capacity analysis of the Silver Spring station. The purpose of this study is to evaluate how well the station is functioning currently in terms of access and egress, vertical circulation, and faregate crowding. The study is also looking at how to accommodate growth in demand due to the opening of the Purple Line as well as increasing job and household density in Silver Spring and the region between now and 2030.

queuing heat map

The current conditions assessment is nearly complete, and shows that the station is performing well under normal conditions.  The graphic above is a cumulative mean density map, illustrating the average amount of “elbow room” each passenger has during the peak 15 minutes.  It shows that the current configuration of faregates at the two mezzanines (north is to the upper left corner) is adequate to service PM peak period demand, with only a little crowding (orange) near some faregates.

This post focuses on the PM peak period because Silver Spring has more station exits in the PM peak than the AM peak:  exiting passengers all disembark the train at the same time, which can cause queues to form at escalators and faregates.  Passengers entering the station, however, tend to trickle in and don’t put as much of a strain on station facilities.   These passengers can crowd the platform waiting areas, which will also be evaluated under this study.

Read more…