Does Transit Yield its Promised Economic Benefits? A 1969 Perspective.

June 25th, 2015 No comments

The actual economic benefits of Metro far exceed what planners estimated in 1969, and it’s worth remembering as we consider future transit investments.

In the late 1960s, when Metrorail was nearly about to begin construction, Metro published a forecast of the economic benefits of Metrorail.  The report made rosy projections of the all the travel time and costs the network, then a 97-mile proposed rail system, would bring.  (It also included photos of the pretty awesome 3-D model of a station, including maybe a one-car train?).  Now, four decades later, were the projections right?  Has Metrorail produced the benefits we thought?  The answer is yes, and then some.

Economics_of_metro_cover

Cover of a 1969 report estimating the economic benefits of Metrorail

At the time this report came out, the region was about to make a substantial investment in public transit , probably not unlike today, where we face real choices about whether to invest in Metro 2025 initiatives such as 8-car trains, the Purple Line, or bus lanes.  To quote the report,

Metro is ready for construction. The routes have been selected. The program for local financing has been approved.

How feasible is Metro? Who will benefit?  Will the benefits justify the costs? Is Metro a good public investment for the National Capital Region and its financial partner, the federal government?

The report tallied up all the time savings to riders – former motorists, former bus riders, and truckers – as well as the travel cost savings like avoided parking, vehicle savings, operating cost savings, and more.  It concluded that Metro would save $186 million per year in 1990$, roughly equivalent to $310 million/year in today’s dollars after adjusting for inflation.  Read more…

Transit Sustainability Experts Gather in DC

June 18th, 2015 No comments

Sustainability experts gathered in DC last Monday to talk about some of their agencies most exciting and biggest opportunities.

Sustainability Meet E Coast 060115-8076

Last Monday Metro hosted the first meeting of East Coast transit sustainability specialists. Sustainability staff from Metro, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Amtrak, and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority were in attendance to discuss how they have successfully implemented projects focused on energy savings and operational efficiency. Developments in  regenerative braking energy storage, agency wide energy management programming, and waste management were presented by attendees. In the afternoon, a lively discussion on the role of transit in regional sustainability was taken on the road on an all-electric bus demonstration ride.

Through future sustainability forums planned for later in 2015 inter agency collaboration will continue to enhance resource efficient transit operations throughout the region.

Categories: Sustainability Tags: ,

Metrobus E Line Restructure Coming June 21

June 16th, 2015 No comments

As part of Metrobus’ June 21, 2015 Service Change, the Military Road-Crosstown Line will be restructured to better fit the travel needs of our riders.

Effective Sunday, June 21, 2015, we are changing the Military Road-Crosstown Line (E2, E3, E4) to improve the efficiency of the service, and to make the schedule easier to understand.  Previously,

  • E2 served Friendship Heights, Fort Totten, and Ivy City on weekdays, but on weekends, the E2 served only Friendship Heights to Fort Totten. E4 served Friendship Heights, Fort Totten, and Riggs Park on weekdays only.
  • Weekend service was provided by a shortened E2, which traveled between Friendship Heights and Fort Totten only, and Route E3 (a weekend-only combination of the weekday E2 and E4, Route E3 served Friendship Heights, Fort Totten, Riggs Park, and Ivy City).

To better match service with demand, clarify the schedule, and increase reliability, we are restructuring the service starting on June 21:

E2_E4_brochure

  • Route E2 will be revised as the Ivy City-Fort Totten Line. The route will operate between Ivy City and Fort Totten station only, and will no longer connect to Friendship Heights station.
  • Extra “short trips” on Route E4 will be added, which will connect Fort Totten and Friendship Heights station (bypassing Riggs Park).
  • The E3 weekend designation will be eliminated, because the new E2 and E4 will operate seven days a week.

These changes will better balance service and demand, improve reliability, and allow for more service frequency on the high-demand western portion of the line. Shorter trips improve on-time performance and reliability, as a longer route is prone to more traffic chokepoints. A simplified schedule makes it easier to figure out which bus to take, especially for new riders. Check out the new E2 timetables here and the new E4 timetables here.

This post is Part 2 of 4 in a series spotlighting major changes from Metrobus’ June 2015 Service Change.

Metrobus U and V Lines Changes in Effect June 21

June 15th, 2015 No comments

The U and V Lines have been overhauled as part of Metrobus’ June 21 service changes. Here’s what you need to know about the new and eliminated U and V routes.

In April 2014, Metrobus Planning staff directed a study of the U and V lines. The routes (U2, U4, U5, U6, U8, V7, V8, and V9), operate primarily in the District of Columbia, connecting the Minnesota Avenue Metrorail station with nearby neighborhoods. The study assessed the lines in detail, identified traffic issues and crowding concerns, and recommended service changes. As a result of the 2014 study, we have restructured the U and V lines to make them clearer and more reliable.

U_V_All_Lines_Final_June_2015_Brochure

The following changes are effective Sunday, June 21, 2015:

  • the elimination of Routes U2, V7, and V8,
  • the shortening of Route U8,
  • the restructuring of Route V9 as the new Route V1, and
  • the addition of new routes U7, V1, V2, and V4.

Take a look at our detailed U and V Line brochure and the new timetables (U7U8V1, and V2,4) and let us know what you think of the new service.

There are no changes to the other U and V routes (U4, U5, U6, and V5).

This post is Part 2 of 4 in a series spotlighting major changes from Metrobus’ June 2015 Service Change. 

Categories: In The News > Service Changes Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quarterly Metrobus Service Change Takes Effect June 21

June 12th, 2015 No comments
New NH1 map 6-21-15

Metro’s bus planners always aim to provide you with a Better Bus, and on June 21, timetables are changing for over 40 bus routes. Here’s what you need to know, starting with a closer look at the NH1,  NH3 line.

This post is Part 1 of 4 in a series spotlighting major changes from Metrobus’ June 2015 Service Change. Stay tuned for details on the revised E Line, U and V Lines, and 22 and 25 Lines.

Metrobus planners are constantly reviewing bus service and routes and bringing changes four times a year. Regular assessments including daily weekday passenger boardings and passengers per revenue trip, along with data from customer participation and feedback from our Metrobus operators, point out routes that need attention. Sometimes the resulting changes are small, such as adjusting trip times to more evenly space trips and better accommodate passenger loads or adjusting to traffic patterns. Other changes have a bigger impact, perhaps influenced by passenger demand, construction detours, budget constraints, or political pressures. No matter the reason, Metro Bus Planning is always working for a Better Bus.

Here’s what’s happening with the June 2015 service changes (detailed future timetables are available too): Read more…

Planning Tool Update Sheds Light on Rail Car Crowding Distribution

May 18th, 2015 19 comments

Latest version of Line Load tool will feature modeled car-crowding numbers.

Many factors influence which car number of a Metrorail train a customer rides.  Infrequent riders may wait for the train near the escalator and board the nearest rail car. Savvier customers may prefer to ensure they are the first to exit at their destination station or have an shorter walk at a transfer station.  Others may board cars based on understanding where seats are more likely to be available.  All of this activity can result in uneven loading of Metrorail cars across a given train, with some rail cars crowded and others near empty.

As we mentioned in 2013, the Office of Planning has an in-house tool that allows planners to estimate how crowded trains are based on origin-destination ridership data. Currently we are in the midst of a few updates, which will include the Silver Line that opened last year.  Another of the new features that we are excited about is a rail car crowding analysis for the system’s most critical segments.  Based on over six months of rail car-crowding data that was collected at selected stations by rail passenger “checkers,” the train-based ridership data will be distributed across the cars so we can estimate what kind of crowding we have by car number, at the peak load points. The following graph illustrates the observed car crowding variations at Gallery Place.

carcrowding

Customers may experience crowded conditions even when the average rail passenger per car (PPC) numbers (PDF) would indicate otherwise. This new feature is an important addition that will help Metro planners better understand the customer experience.  The car crowding analysis will begin to identify which cars of a train tend to be crowded in the peak hours, and which are less crowded.  This information will the be used as a starting point for devising strategies for better spreading customers across all cars of a train.

How do you choose which rail car you ride in?  Other than berthing trains at the center of the platform (see this informative article over at Greater Greater Washington on that topic), what strategies might Metro consider to better balance customers across rail cars?

 

 

Metro Pitstops on Bike to Work Day – Friday!

May 14th, 2015 No comments

Bike to Work Day is tomorrow, Friday, May 15. Roll by, say hello, and pick up free goodies at a Metro-hosted pitstop.

BTWD5-15-15

Click to register for Bike to Work Day!

Register now for free at www.biketoworkmetrodc.org and enter your pitstop as East Falls Church, Fort Totten, or College Park-U of Md. Metro will be distributing t-shirts, maps, free goodies, and information on using bikes with Metro. In addition, Metro Transit Police will also be at East Falls Church, Fort Totten, College Park-U of Md., King St-Old Town, and Braddock Road Metrorail stations from 7:00 – 9:00 am  to distribute FREE U-Locks when you trade in a less secure lock (e.g. chain or cable lock) and register your bike with MTPD!

If biking from home to work isn’t an option for you, make Bike to Metro part of your commute. You can park your bike at any Metrorail station or a bus stop, and complete your journey using Metro. You can also take your bike with you on Metrobus at any time, as our entire bus fleet is equipped with bike racks that can carry 2 bikes on each bus. Or bring your bike on a Metrorail train at anytime except 7-10 am and 4-7 pm.

The three Metro-hosted pitstops at Bike to Work Day 2015 are:

See you out there!

Where Are Those Rail Riders Going?

May 12th, 2015 4 comments

Ever wonder where rail riders are going to and from? Here’s a map that shows you.

“What are the destinations of riders at Station X?”  It’s a question we get often here. Well, using October 2014 rail ridership data by origin and destination, it’s pretty easy to answer that question – click below for an interactive map.

OD Rail Viz preview

Click for a larger, interactive version of Metrorail ridership information by origin and destination station

The K9 MetroExtra Bus Route Surpassing Expectations

April 30th, 2015 3 comments

Two years and 500,000 riders later, the K9 continues to demonstrates the benefits of MetroExtra limited-stop bus service.

At the end of this month, the K9 bus route will pass an important milestone – it will carry its half-millionth rider.  Since its inaugural run, the K9 has continually surpassed all of our expectations.

The concept for the K9 emerged from a year long study on bus service needs in the New Hampshire corridor and on New Year’s Eve 2012, Metro launched the K9 service – the first limited-stop bus service introduced in Maryland in many years. The K9 provided faster and more reliable service along New Hampshire Avenue between Fort Totten Metrorail station and the Northwest Park apartments in Montgomery County. Riders responded enthusiastically, pushing the K9 over its 6-month target of 650 daily riders in less than four months.  In March 2014, we extended the route north to the Federal Research Center in White Oak to coincide with the transfer of several thousand FDA employees to that facility and increased the service frequency to every 15 minutes.  Ridership surged again, passing 1,000 daily riders for first time only a week later. Two months later daily ridership was up another 20% to 1,200 daily riders.

K9 Ridership by day

Ridership on the K9 has grown an astonishing 50% year-over year for the past two years in a row, and this growth has not come at the expense of ridership on the underlying K6 local bus service (the K6 grew 2% between 2013 and 2014 and has been virtually flat for 2015).  Instead, the K9 has tapped into pent-up demand for transit service within the corridor by providing desperately needed capacity.  Read more…

Do You Bike to Metro in Fairfax County? Your input is needed!

April 28th, 2015 No comments

Fairfax County seeks input from bike-and-ride commuters.

Bike FairfaxAs we have discussed previously, safe and convenient pedestrian and bicycle access is critical to Metro’s success, and WMATA works closely with local jurisdictions to find ways to improve conditions for customers arriving on foot or bike. Compared with the high expense of building more parking garages for park-and-ride customers, investing in better walking and biking infrastructure is an incredibly cost-effective way of attracting Metro customers. On Metro station property, WMATA is making investments such as bike parking and path improvements.  On the public streets beyond, our local and state partners are installing their own new facilities for people walking/biking to the station. Read more…