Posts Tagged ‘access’

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.

What’s the Ideal Size for a Transit Walkshed?

July 8th, 2014 2 comments

Large transit walksheds are great, but how big is big enough?

In other posts, we have described what a transit walkshed is, and how changes can be made to the pedestrian network to increase the walkshed area.  Here, we explore how big is big enough.

The diagram below shows a half-mile circle around a transit station.  If the station were located in a field of grass or on a massive parking lot, the walkable area of the circle would be the circle itself, 100% of the half-mile buffer around the station would be accessible by foot.  Unfortunately, that wouldn’t bode well for transit use, since there wouldn’t be any origins or destinations within that walking distance.

Ideal Walkshed DiagramNow, let’s lay a perfect grid of streets across that half-mile buffer.  The street area is where people can walk, and the remaining area contains houses, shops, mixed-use development, etc.  The resulting walkshed for the station begins to look like a diamond inscribed inside the circle.   The smaller the blocks (the closer the streets are to one another) the more the walkshed resembles a perfect diamond that has a diagonal distance equal to the diameter of the circle.  If you take the area of the diamond and that of the circle and compare them, you find the walkshed (square) covers 63.7% of the circular station area buffer.

So if you have a perfect grid and get 63.7% coverage, how can you get any better?  For one, diagonal streets can increase the coverage: if two diagonal streets were added to the grid, intersecting in the center of the circle at the transit station, the square walkshed would turn into an eight-pointed star, increasing coverage even more, but not by much.

An good example of a walkshed greater than 63.7% is that of the Takoma station.  Featured in a previous post, we recently calculated a 91% coverage for Takoma.

It is difficult to pick an ideal size for a transit walkshed.    A larger percentage could be beneficial, but the additional roadway network needed to expand the coverage beyond 63.7% may result in less area dedicated to potential transit origins and destinations.  (Remember the station in the parking lot?)

What Metrorail stations do you feel have good walkshed coverage?  In  your opinion, where can we improve?

 

 

What’s a Transit “Walk Shed”?

June 10th, 2014 6 comments

Metro will soon be measuring how much growth happens in places that are walkable to transit. Here’s an in-depth look at how we define “walkable” to Metrorail stations and Metrobus stops.

Quarter-mile walk (by the network) for regional Metrobus stops and Metrorail stations

Areas reachable on foot from regional Metrobus stops and Metrorail stations

Metro’s new Connecting Communities metric will measure annual household growth in our region that occurs within the “transit shed” – the catchment area around transit service that generates walk ridership. And improving walkability can be an incredibly cost-effective way to reduce congestion and increase transit ridership.  Let’s take a closer look at how we defined what’s “walkable to transit.”

How Far is Walkable? First, we defined walking distance as a half-mile from Metrorail, and a quarter-mile from Metrobus, for a number of reasons:

  1. Of all the passengers who walk to Metrorail each morning, the median walking distance is just under a half-mile (0.35 miles, actually).  Riders walk farther to some stations than others, but the systemwide average is just shy of a half-mile.  Since rail riders are on average willing to walk a little under a half-mile today, it is reasonable to use a half-mile as an upper limit for walking in the future. (We don’t have similar survey data on Metrobus - yet.)
  2. The land use within a quarter- and half-mile is where we see the strongest effects on ridership on Metro today. More on this below.
  3. Academic literature supports the half-mile radius from rail transit as no better than any other distance, particularly for the link between households and ridership.
  4. Practically, setting the distance any farther than 0.50 and 0.25 miles increases overlap with other nearby stations and bus stops, which increases computational complexity. Read more…

Solving the Region’s Congestion Woes – One Step at a Time (Part 3 of 3)

March 31st, 2014 2 comments

Making every Metrorail station area walkable could reduce regional congestion without breaking the bank.

This is part three of a three-part series.

In the previous two posts we’ve laid out a case for making all transit stations walkable as quickly as possible.

  1. Increasing walkability and density at station areas has huge impacts on transit mode share and can take tens of thousands of cars of the road every single day.
  2. At a regional level, walkable station areas have an equivalent impact on congestion as a quarter trillion dollars in “last mile” infrastructure (see pages 37, 38, 43, 48).

Maximizing the capacity of the existing transit network while intelligently investing in station area connectivity would combat regional congestion just as effectively as trying to “build our way out of the problem”. And unlike many potential interventions, the market actually wants to do this for us.

Perhaps it is time to harness these market forces to make the areas around our transit network walkable and implement this low-cost congestion-busting paradigm. As for where to begin – well, we have a few suggestions…

Existing Walkability Near Metrorail Stations

The map below shows the range of existing walkability conditions near the Metrorail network and helps answer the question of how much of a half-mile radius of each station a person can walk to. The higher the percentage, the better the pedestrian network coverage. As shown, many of the station areas are under performing relative to their potential walkability. If walkability = connectivity and connectivity = mode share, then just imagine the impact on the region’s roads if we could focus on taking station areas with low accessibility and invest in some relatively easy, short-term solutions like sidewalks, pedestrian bridges, crosswalks, and smart, transit-oriented development to take maximum advantage of the existing Metrorail system and take tens of thousands of cars off the road each day.

How walkable are our region's Metrorail stations?

How much of the area within a half-mile of our Metrorail stations can you walk to?

Read more…

Solving the Region’s Congestion Woes – One Step at a Time (Part 2 of 3)

March 24th, 2014 4 comments

Improving pedestrian connectivity takes cars off the road at a formidable clip – rivaling the power of all of the region’s planned roadway additions and “last mile” transit connections.  Cheaply and quickly. 

This post is part two of a three-part series.

The data is finally in, and we now know that walkable station areas result in fewer motorized trips, fewer miles driven, fewer cars owned, and fewer hours spent traveling. And when we improve the pedestrian and bicycle access and connectivity to Metrorail station areas, ridership goes up, putting a major dent in congestion by taking trips off the roadways. Earlier, we discussed what it means to build walkable station areas and research shows the tremendous benefits to the region of making this a priority.

First, our data confirms that when walking access to transit is improved, transit ridership goes up – way up. In the 2040 Regional Transit System Plan (RTSP), we stress tested TPB’s transportation model to improve walkability to the transit network and saw huge increases in transit linked trips.  These trips go up by about 10% region-wide and we get an increase in transit mode share for all regional trips by 0.5%.  That’s over and above the roughly one percent increase in mode share we anticipate occurring as a result of building the entirety of the CLRP, an impact about half that of constructing all of that transit.

Source: Regional Transit System Plan

Source: Regional Transit System Plan

Read more…

Solving the Region’s Congestion Woes – One Step at a Time

March 17th, 2014 1 comment

One solution to the region’s crippling congestion could be right under our feet – literally.

This post is part one of a three-part series.

Illustration of possible walkability improvements that could occur in/around Tysons Corner. From Regional Transit System Plan

 

The region is abuzz with $220B of planned new transportation investments – the Purple Line, HOT Lanes, new streetcar lines, and additional roadways. Though there is not one dollar currently pledged to add capacity to Metro, these other investments may help the region chart a course away from leading the country in congestion (pdf).

However, for a quarter trillion dollars, one would expect that collectively these projects would have significant impacts on the region’s congestion. While there are some benefits – vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per capita are expected to decline and  transit mode share may increase by one percent – overall increases in VMT are expected to outpace road construction, leading to a 38% increase in the number of lane miles of congestion (pdf). But is there another way to get more bang for our buck?

Make station areas walkable. Every one of them. Now.

Read more…

moveDC Public Workshop Announcement – Comment on DC’s long-range transporation plan!

October 18th, 2013 No comments

moveDCThe District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is hosting its third and final round of public workshops in October to discuss moveDC, DDOT’s initiative to develop a strategic, multimodal long range transportation plan for the District.  The public is encouraged to attend a workshop to review the draft plan and help prioritize the transportation options. The October workshops will enable you to:

  • Share your ideas and observations on future plans for transportation;
  • Learn how three approaches to a future DC transportation system perform;
  • Review the results of our survey research;
  • Provide input into the draft transportation plan; and
  • Learn more about the moveDC local bus study.

Online Survey

Throughout October, you are also invited to participate in a survey to comment on and critique three approaches that have the potential to transform the way people travel in the District.

Public Meeting Dates and Locations

Monday, October 21

7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Union Station

625 First St NE

Tuesday, October 22

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., with a formal presentation 7 p.m.

Dorothy I. Height/Benning Neighborhood Library

3935 Benning Road, NE

Saturday, October 26

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

DCUSA Retail Center, 2nd Floor, between Target and Best Buy

3100 14th St. NW

Wednesday, October 30

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., with a formal presentation 7 p.m.

Petworth Neighborhood Library

4200 Kansas Ave., NW

Web Meetings

Visit www.wemoveDC.org for more details and to sign up.

October 24, noon – 1:00 p.m.

October 28, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

 

How Do Metrorail Riders Get to Their Station in the Morning?

September 30th, 2013 3 comments

Peds_CrystalCityTwo-thirds of Metrorail riders take transit, walk, or bike to Metrorail for their morning commute.

Every morning, thousands of people walk through the faregates and into Metrorail. Did you ever wonder how they get to their station? Our 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey tells us the answer to this question, for the morning rush:

  • More than a third (38%) of Metrorail riders get to the station in the morning by walking or biking.
  • Another quarter arrive by bus – Metrobus, as well as other bus operators in the region.
  • Another third arrive by car – most by parking at or near the station, but some by getting dropped off.
  • Finally, about 4% of riders arrive via commuter rail – mostly at Union Station.

Of the 25,000 or so daily riders who access rail by “Other Bus,” the top three contributors are Fairfax Connector (6,700), Montgomery County’s RideOn (5,700), and private shuttles (4,900). Of those who parked at their station, one-third were driving from less three miles away. Carpooling to Metrorail is very low – we estimate average vehicle occupancy at 1.03 passengers per parked car.

Systemwide_Metrorail_AccessMode_May2012

The map below shows how the answer to “How Did They Get to the Station?” varies dramatically station to station. (For the sake of legibility on this map, I’ve simplified the access modes into 4 groups). Read more…

Bicycle Access to Metrorail On the Rise

August 26th, 2013 2 comments

The number of Metrorail customers riding their bike to the train station increased by 50% over the last 5 years, as Metro makes progress towards its 2020 goal to attract more bicyclists.

More cyclists are accessing Metrorail by bike than ever before.  According to results from the 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey, the number of riders bicycling to Metrorail in the morning rush hour increased from around 1,550 to over 2,380 per day between 2007 and 2012. Bike access to Metrorail now accounts for 1% of entries each morning, which moves us closer to our Board-adopted goal of over 2% (over 7,000 bicycles!) by 2020.

Bike Access to Rail 2012

In this survey, riders who access rail by bicycle in the morning peak could be taking Capital Bikeshare to the station, riding and parking their own bike at the station, or bringing a folding bike on-board.  The Passenger Survey is one way we measure bicycle access. We see a similar pattern in our annual count of bike racks at stations each spring (currently nearing completion for 2013, stay tuned).

The growth in bike access has happened at the same time as bicycling is increasing generally in the region, and as Metro has added more bike racks at stations to accommodate and encourage bicycling, including a secure Bike & Ride parking prototype facility at College Park station.

Categories: In The News Tags: , , ,

Time for Those Walking Shoes, Part 2

August 1st, 2013 5 comments

Walk access to Metrorail has increased 15% over the last 5 years, especially from those living within a half-mile of the station.  

So more rail riders are choosing to walk to their Metrorail station, according to the 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey. But who are these pedestrians?

Around 40% of Metrorail customers in the AM peak walk to the station.  The survey found that younger people are much more likely to walk, with those under 35 were nearly twice as likely to walk to the train as those over 35:

Walk_Access_to_Metrorail_2012_by_OverUnder35However, younger Metrorail riders are also more likely to live within walking distance of their Metrorail station. Half of all riders under 35 live within a half-mile Metrorail, while 22% of those over 35 do.  Younger people in our region generally are slightly more likely to live near Metrorail –  15% of everyone under 35 in the region lives within a half-mile of Metrorail, 12% for those over 35. The chart below shows how younger riders tend to live closer to Metrorail: Read more…