‘RTSP’

How Do Different Modes Compare?

May 14th, 2014 6 comments

The region either already has or is planning for a variety of different modes. How do they compare? The Silver Line will soon open as a Metrorail line. Later this year, a streetcar will be operating on H Street, NE with others planned for Columbia Pike in Arlington and the District. Arlington and Alexandria are jointly building a bus rapid transit (BRT) line between Crystal City and Potomac Yard. Once funding is finalized, Maryland will build the Purple Line and light rail transit (LRT) will connect New Carrollton and Bethesda. This is all in addition to the region’s existing commuter rail, commuter bus, Metrorail, Metrobus, and MetroExtra services. The region is not only expanding transit services, but it also expanding the types of transit modes that will operate. At long last, instead of talking about Portland (streetcar), Jersey City (light rail), or Cleveland (bus rapid transit), we’ll be able to point directly to services and infrastructure in our backyard or take a trip and experience the pros and cons of these modes for ourselves.

So how do the different modes compare? What kind of purposes does each serve? There are many external factors and trade-offs that influence how agencies and jurisdictions select which mode to implement.  As we see from the ongoing debates in jurisdictions across the region between LRT and BRT or streetcar and enhanced bus, there is not always one perfect choice. However, an array of transit and land use measures can provide context to the conversation. As part of ConnectGreaterWashington: The 2040 Regional Transit System Plan, we developed the below table to compare commuter rail, commuter bus, heavy rail, light rail, streetcar, bus rapid transit, and enhanced bus across land use intensity (households and employment), vehicle capacity, stop spacing, trip length, and capital and operating costs.

What do you think? Does this information better inform the rail vs bus debate? What other information would provide more clarity on what modes work where?

Comparison of High-Capacity Transit Modes

Comparison of High-Capacity Transit Modes

 

Why isn’t Metro looking at a line to [insert address here]?

December 20th, 2013 9 comments

[Editor's note: this will be our last post of 2013.  We look forward to seeing you again in early January.]

You name it and we tested it as part of our analysis and development of the Regional Transit System Plan (RTSP). Here’s the comprehensive list of what was analyzed.

List of Transit Corridors, Projects, and Plans Analyzed as Part of RTSP

List of Transit Corridors, Projects, and Plans Analyzed as Part of RTSP

We have received tons of great comments on the proposed 2040 network of Metrorail and high capacity surface transit corridors. Many of you have said that we missed <insert corridor here> or have asked why we don’t have a line to <insert address here>. As part of this plan, we have analyzed almost every corridor or mode that you have identified. However, we recognize that most of it was behind the scenes and is buried deep in our posted presentations to the Technical Advisory Group (TAG).

Above is a list of what was analyzed before we unveiled the proposed 2040 Metrorail Network and regionally significant high capacity corridors. Better yet, here is a document that shows the Metrorail lines and other surface transit plans, projects, and strategies that were tested over the course of the project. Everything is listed and where possible, maps and graphics are provided to illustrate what was tested. All tested items were measured against a comprehensive set of measures of effectiveness (MOE). The MOEs assessed ridership, impact on core capacity, transfers, reduction in vehicle miles traveled (VMT), mode share, etc.

To wet your whistle, below, check out the Beltway Line that was tested. Only the segments that crossed the American Legion Bridge (between White Flint and Dunn Loring) and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (between Branch Avenue and Eisenhower Avenue) had some promise and therefore, they continued on in the analysis, though as surface transit not Metrorail. The other segments did not provide good ridership, primarily due to the low densities within a walkable distance from the Beltway, and had little impact on Metrorail core capacity.

Alignment of a Beltway Line that was tested in the RTSP

Alignment of a Beltway Line that was tested in the RTSP

Let us know what you think!

More than Metrorail: The Region’s Most Important High-Capacity Surface Transit Corridors

December 19th, 2013 14 comments

In parallel with the proposed 2040 Metrorail network, we have identified 25 regionally significant corridors that merit high-capacity surface transit by 2040. Depending on the corridor, high-capacity surface transit can be provided more efficiently and effectively by modes other than Metrorail.

The best transit systems in the world are comprised of large networks served by multiple modes. In the National Capital Region, due to the growth and dispersal of activity centers, the high demand placed on Metrorail, and the realities of transit funding, expanding the transit network needs to occur by expanding transit on the region’s roads and highways not just by Metrorail. Metrorail is not and cannot be the best mode for every corridor because the vast majority of corridors do not have the land use, density and ridership to support it.

But don’t despair! There are plenty of other high-capacity modes such as bus rapid transit (BRT), light rail (LRT), streetcar, and enhanced bus that can provide:

  • high-frequency;
  • all day service;
  • large, comfortable vehicles; and
  • lower capital and operating costs than Metrorail.
Regionally Significant High Capacity Surface Transit Corridors as part of 2040 Regional Transit System Plan

Regionally Significant High-Capacity Surface Transit Corridors as part of 2040 Regional Transit System Plan

Read more…

Proposed 2040 Metrorail Network

December 5th, 2013 80 comments

Step right up and check out the proposed 2040 core Metrorail configuration with new Blue and Yellow Lines and a third line in Virginia!

Proposed 2040 Metrorail Core Configuration

Proposed 2040 Metrorail Core Configuration

Proposed 2040 Metrorail Network

Proposed 2040 Metrorail Network

What does this network do? The proposed rail network shown above is expected to reduce future crowding on Metrorail, provide enough capacity for future development, and expand the reach of transit in the region, especially to regional activity centers.

Why are we proposing it? This rail network is part of the 2040 Regional Transit System Plan (RTSP). Its purpose is to develop the rail and surface transit network for 2040 that meets the needs of the growing Washington DC region.

What else have we considered? About a month ago, we posted about some of the possible long-range changes to the Metrorail core that we are considering as part of the RTSP. We analyzed four different core configurations, gathered your comments, and the final configuration for the core is shown above. As many of you commented, it is a combination of two of the scenarios (Scenarios B and C).

Next Steps: The next and final step for the RTSP is to use this configuration, along with the high capacity surface corridors, to conduct a final round of analysis. The output will provide us with information on ridership, mode share, levels of crowding, transfers, etc. and ultimately a final network for 2040.

Let us know what you think!

A few extra notes:

(1) The Metrorail network shown in this post will be layered with an extensive high capacity surface transit network to expand transit and meet the needs of employment and population growth in the region.

(2) For the plan to have validity and acceptability across the region and within the federal planning process, it is based on the region’s adopted cooperative land use forecast for 2040. We used the Aspirations Land Use scenario to stress test the core of the system, but ultimately the plan needs to start with the region’s adopted land use. As follow on work to this plan, we will be testing different land uses to see what else we can learn to improve long-range plans.

(3) All of the lines shown, as well as all of the high capacity surface transit corridors, will need corridor studies, alternatives analyses, and full engineering studies. This cannot be done at a regional level, but would need to happen on a project by project, line by line level. So, while we are showing a new Blue Line on M Street, it very well could be on N or P Streets.

Momentum and RTSP: What’s the Difference?

October 7th, 2013 No comments

Momentum is just one component of Metro’s vision for the future of transit in the Washington region.

We know that there are many questions about the relationship between Momentum, Metro’s strategic plan, and Metro’s long-range Regional Transit System Plan. These are two really ambitious, visionary plans that put forth a vision both for the Authority itself, as well as the transit map of the future. So below is a handy reference guide that compares the two plans across a variety of factors. This FAQ is a work in progress, so please add questions below and we will modify the table with other key details.

Momentum

Regional Transit System Plan (RTSP)

  

Momentum 

 

Logo_WMATA_RTSP_001 black 

Purpose
  • Develop actions that Metro can take to meet the mission, vision and goals adopted by WMATA’s Board.
  • Identify key infrastructure initiatives, defined as Metro 2025, that Metro can implement to maximize the existing system without expanding it.
  • Develop the future transit map that the region needs to meet its projected population and employment growth.
  • Note the plan is being developed without specific operators in mind, especially for the high capacity surface transit corridors. However, a subset of the overall plan will come under Metro’s purview, build on Metro 2025, and ultimately become Metro 2040.

Read more…

Categories: Momentum, RTSP Tags: , , ,

RTSP Evaluating and Prioritizing Corridors for High Capacity Transit: Dispatch from TAG Meeting #10

October 4th, 2013 1 comment

This is the second post in a two-part series based Logo_WMATA_RTSP_001 blackon content from the tenth meeting with the Regional Transit System Plan (RTSP) Technical Advisory Group (TAG) that was held in July. The first post focused on our analysis of new Metrorail lines in the core and Virginia. This post is about our approach to identify regionally significant corridors for high capacity transit. 

By 2040, multiple regionally significant travel corridors will need high capacity, high frequency transit to connect people and jobs outside of the core.

As part of the RTSP, we will identify regionally significant corridors where transit priority infrastructure is needed to provide high capacity transit. At the TAG meeting, Metro Planning staff presented a methodology to identify, evaluate, and prioritize these regionally significant corridors. The methodology has evolved since the July meeting and is described below. The actual evaluation and prioritization is still in process.

WMATA RTSP II Corridors Segments 082813

Corridors identified for evaluation for high capacity transit.

 

Since the TAG meeting, we have also conducted one-on-one meetings with each jurisdiction and agency in the RTSP study area to review and gather feedback on the full set of corridors that will be evaluated. Approximately 70 corridors have been identified from:

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RTSP Analyzing New Metrorail Lines in the Core and Virginia: Dispatch from TAG Meeting #10

October 3rd, 2013 39 comments

This is the first post in a two-part series based Logo_WMATA_RTSP_001 blackon content from the tenth meeting with the Regional Transit System Plan (RTSP) Technical Advisory Group (TAG) that was held in July. This post will focus on our analysis of Metrorail capacity and crowding, while the second post will focus on identifying and prioritizing regionally significant surface transit corridors.

By 2040, ridership and crowding levels on Metrorail indicate the need for a new Blue Line and new Yellow line in the system’s core and a third line in Virginia.

At the time of our last post, we had run an initial round of four scenarios that sought to resolve regional mobility issues. We gathered a lot of information from the results, but realized that we needed to run a second round of scenarios focused almost entirely on Metrorail. Using MWCOG’s Cooperative Forecast Round 8.1 land use, which has been adopted by the region, and MWCOG’s Aspirations land use, which shifts more jobs and households into the regional activity centers, the maps below clearly demonstrate crowded conditions in 2040. The Base Network shown in these maps includes 100 percent eight-car trains and all the CLRP projects. Crowded conditions exist on the Orange Line west of Rosslyn, on the Yellow and Green Lines south of L’Enfant Plaza, and on the Silver Line west of Tysons. Because the results indicated that Metro would be severely crowded EVEN if we run the longest possible trains (eight-car trains), we wanted to explore other long-term solutions.

WMATA-RTSP-II-Baseline-No-Aspirations-Land-Use-Loads-071513-wLEGEND

Crowding on Metrorail by 2040, even with the longest possible (eight-car) trains. Base Network AM Peak, Round 8.1 Cooperative Forecast

WMATA-RTSP-II-Baseline-Aspirations-Land-Use-Loads-071513-wLEGEND

Crowding on Metrorail in 2040 even with the longest possible (eight-car) trains, Base Network AM Peak, Aspirations Land Use

Read more…

TAG Meeting #9: RTSP Phase II: Review of Round 1 Scenario Results

November 2nd, 2012 4 comments

In September, we presented to the TAG the results of the first round of scenarios modeled in the second phase of the RTSP study.  Scenarios are defined by a collection of strategies or projects identified in the initial phase of the RTSP.  The four scenarios tested focused on maximizing the existing infrastructure, expanding surface transit, expanding transit in the core, and expanding transit system wide.  The performance of each scenario was evaluated against a set of measures to determine the relative effectiveness of each compared to the baseline scenario, defined by the regional list of projects in the currently adopted Constrained Long Range Plan, and MWCOG Cooperative Forecasts Round 8.0 land use.

Phase II Process Overview: Click to Enlarge

Regional measures such as total transit trips, mode share, vehicle miles traveled, households and jobs within a half-mile of transit, travel time savings, and transit congestion were evaluated to not only determine how well the scenarios performed against each other over the baseline, but to assess how well each satisfied the goals and objectives of the RTSP.  In addition to these broad-based regional measures, the first round of scenario modeling focused on how well each scenario addressed the need to expand capacity within the system core.  Peak period Metrorail link capacity and transfer activity at key core stations were measured against the baseline scenario to determine if the potential build scenarios could provide sufficient capacity to serve future demand, and how well such added capacity could be utilized.

For more information on scenario descriptions, measured results, and key findings download meeting materials: TAG 9 Presentation of Results

Read more…

Categories: TAG Tags: , , ,

TAG Meeting #8: Regional Transit System Plan Phase I Review

March 12th, 2012 2 comments

Metro is developing the Regional Transit System Plan (RTSP), a vision of a sustainable, integrated, multimodal, regional transit network for 2040.  Metro staff have recently completed the first phase, and presented a summary to the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) in January.  Phase II is underway, and the proposed approach and initial scenarios to evaluate were also presented to the TAG.

During the initial phase, Metro staff assessed future growth trends and travel-demand patterns throughout the region for the forecast year 2040.  Regional growth, reported by MWCOG Cooperative Forecasts Round 7.2a, shows significant population, household, and employment growth over the next several decades.  This growth has a direct impact on travel patterns around the region.  As a part of Phase I work, Metro staff identified the implications this has for transit.

Forecasts show that with the implementation of the projects included in the 2009 financially constrained long-range plan (CLRP) regional transit trips will grow by 30% by 2040.  Although the regional program of projects in the CLRP results in a transit mode share remaining at only 4% of total person trips, the region will see more than 350,000 new weekday transit trips.  Given the anticipated growth and dispersion of travel, the RTSP focuses on the following long-range issues:

  • Increasing the capacity of the system to serve the region’s employment core;
  • Improving multimodal access to high quality transit;
  • Improving the efficiency and interoperability of the region’s surface transit;
  • Improving connections to Regional Activity Centers;

Read more…

Categories: RTSP, TAG Tags: , ,

TAG Meeting #7: Analysis of Enhanced Surface Transit, Metrorail Extensions, and New Metrorail Lines Through and Around the Core

June 9th, 2011 1 comment

May 5, 2011

In May, we continued to provide the TAG with model results of several strategies aimed to improve surface transit in the region, such as an enhanced priority corridor network, streetcar network, and light rail extensions. This round of modeling also tested new Metrorail lines including a beltway line and new brown line. Finally, additional Metrorail enhancements were considered such as a relocated silver line with a Ballston-Rosslyn bypass, and a new set of extensions to suburban activity centers. The results of these model runs show the impact of each of these strategies on weekday transit boardings by mode, Metrorail boardings by line, regional transit share, regional transit linked trips, as well as an examination of passengers per rail car during the peak hour. The strategies modeled during this round address the need to increase core system capacity, connect to new and emerging markets, and provide priority for and enhancements to surface transit corridors in the region – three of the four goals of the RTSP.

Download the Meeting Materials: TAG_07_Meeting.pdf (PDF, 3.1 MB)

Categories: TAG Tags: ,