Now that Momentum has been adopted by Metro’s Board of Directors, what’s next? How can the region ensure that the plan is implemented? What is Metro doing internally to make sure the organization is on track? What can you do to help?
Board members and members of Metro’s Executive Leadership Team have been meeting with local officials, businesses, civic organizations, and other stakeholders throughout the course of the plan’s development. Their support of the plan is critical to its implementation. This outreach will continue in order to ensure that the region’s leaders are aware of the plan, the benefits of its implementation, and the cost of doing nothing. This outreach is intended to garner a wide array of support, similar to what was obtained at other key points during Metro’s history. Many area businesses and organizations, from AAA to Zipcar, and a growing list of private citizens have already endorsed the plan. If you haven’t done so already, please endorse Momentum online now. Read more…
The seven projects in Metro 2025 will reduce road congestion, save money throughout the region, add riders to the Metro system, and make Metro rides more comfortable and efficient.
Capacity Increases to Support Additional Ridership
Metro 2025 investments will take 135,000 cars off the region’s roads, adding 300,000 boardings to transit, each day. This will help to reduce congestion while increasing transit ridership. With 100 percent eight-car trains, Metrorail will be able to carry the majority of those trips and have adequate capacity to carry the expected ridership of over one million daily trips by 2040. Implementing the full Priority Corridor bus network will enable increased bus use by over 100,000 daily trips by 2040. Next generation communications have helped draw new riders in Boston and Chicago. These investments save all travelers time and money, regardless of whether they ride.
We Lay the Groundwork for Expansion
Four of the Metro 2025 projects are prerequisites to outward expansion of Metrorail. Eighty percent of Metrorail riders travel to, or transfer at, one of a dozen core stations, but the core is reaching its capacity. Before expanding, the trains, tunnels, and stations downtown need to be able to handle the demand. Metro 2025 does this, and lays the groundwork for future rail transit expansion in the region.
Adding special types of tracks at key locations in the system will provide more flexibility to the overall system.
- Pocket tracks: allow trains to turn back in the direction from which they came (short-lining), gap trains to be stored until placed in revenue service, and the staging of track equipment until nighttime trackwork
- Crossovers: allow trains to single track during incidents or nighttime trackwork
Purpose and Need
The Metrorail system includes various single- and double-crossovers and additional ones will shorten the distance of single tracking. The system also has seven mid-route turnbacks, each of which is configured to operate as a third or “pocket” track capable of storing an eight-car train. To improve efficiency and reduce operating costs, certain lines could utilize a pocket track for a “short-lining” turnback to provide improved service to the highest-demand segments of the line. Other new pocket tracks would allow for storage of gap trains, disabled trains and track equipment. Read more…
Metrobus needs to accommodate growth in demand for bus service. Simultaneously, service effectiveness and reliability are suffering due to increasing traffic congestion. In order to meet this challenge, Metro requires 400 new buses by 2025 in addition to those needed for service on the Priority Corridor Network (PCN). Between PCN implementation and service expansion on “Emerging Corridors”, a bus fleet of 2,060 is required by 2025. To support this fleet, an additional 250-space bus garage will be needed along with heavy overhaul capacity expansion from 100 to 150 buses/year.
A next generation communications system would expand current communications infrastructure to provide an integrated one-stop communications hub for the region’s transit customers. Proposed improvements will capitalize on efforts already underway to improve the functionality of the rail control software. They include the next generation of the Passenger Information Display System (PIDS), new public address systems, improved station signage, and equipping station managers with mobile devices. Bus and train information will also be integrated, with real-time information displays to well-used bus stops.
Adding new Blue Line connections seeks to restore train frequencies to every six minutes during the peak period between Pentagon and Rosslyn stations, resulting in less waiting time and crowding for Blue Line riders in Northern Virginia. Once the Silver Line opens, the Blue Line service will operate every 12-14 minutes as opposed to the previous six minutes. The feasibility analysis is currently underway and has identified two potential alternatives to create new connections:
- Alternative 1: Add rail track that would create a new connection between the Blue and Orange/Silver Lines, or
- Alternative 2: A second Rosslyn Station for a new Blue Line with an underground passageway to the existing Rosslyn station, which would connect to the Orange/Silver Lines with a pedestrian tunnel.
Metrobus’ Priority Corridor Network (PCN) Plan will improve bus service, travel speeds, and reliability on 24 regional corridors, which serve half of Metrobus ridership. Improvements include:
- Improved operational strategies such as transit signal priority and exclusive bus lanes
- Increased frequency and span of service
- Improved customer information
- Added MetroExtra, Metro’s limited-stop bus service, routes and buses
- Expanded fare payment options
- Added safety, security and incident response measures
- Enhanced bus stops and facilities
Improving and expanding capacity at high ridership stations will ensure safe and efficient operations and facilitate passenger movements from street-level to platform as well as transfers between lines. The proposed stations, most of which are in the system’s core, already experience crowding or would reach capacity by 2025. Proposed improvements vary from adding escalators and stairs to building pedestrian passageways connecting platforms within a station and between stations.
Operating the longest trains possible during the peak periods will maximize the capacity of the existing Metrorail system by enabling operations of 100 percent eight-car trains. Metro will upgrade, replace or expand:
- The rail car fleet
- Traction power substations
- Power cabling
- Third rail
- Train control systems
- Storage tracks and maintenance bays in the yards
Purpose and Need
The Metro system’s core is the destination or transfer point for 80 percent of all rail riders system-wide. Crowded conditions during peak periods exist currently and, without rail fleet expansion, most rail lines will be even more congested by 2025. Operating 100 percent eight-car trains during peak periods and increasing the capacity of transfer stations (under a related initiative) will provide adequate capacity through 2025.