Posts Tagged ‘forecasts’

Would a Cordon Charge Help Stabilize Metro’s Finances? (Part 4)

July 5th, 2016 2 comments

Adding a London-style cordon charge (or fee) to enter much of the region’s central employment area would increase transit ridership across all modes and also reduce (or eliminate) the subsidy that local governments pay every year to support Metro, meaning lower tax bills for regional residents.*

(This post is part of a multi-part series about ConnectGreaterWashington (CGW) a study that WMATA completed in 2015 and its application of land use and pricing as a transportation strategy.)

Approach for Building Scenario B to make Transit More Cost-Effective

Scenario “B” looked at land use shifts and increasing the price of driving, and how those changes would impact Metro.

Metro asked, “What if the region’s future growth was used to fulfill the expectations of regional plans such as Region Forward and Place + Opportunity? What if transit-supportive policies were implemented across the region? Would WMATA benefit? Would the region?”

Answer: YES!!

*Note that Metro is not proposing that the region adopt a cordon charge, but it was tested as part of an analysis of how smarter land use and more transit-supportive policies could impact transit ridership, our operating subsidy, and other measures that support the region’s growth.

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How Smarter Urban Planning Can Help the Chesapeake Bay

July 20th, 2015 No comments

Better urban planning can help save our rivers and the Chesapeake Bay—by reducing this region’s future impervious surfaces by 20%. Here’s why.

As many Washingtonians know, the Chesapeake Bay needs help. Dead zones and algae blooms appear every summer which destroy aquatic life in the Bay and threaten  fishing, swimming, and economic health.  A major contributor to this problem is rainwater runoff from paved roads, parking lots, and roofs.  These are called “impermeable surfaces”.  In contrast, permeable (or pervious) surface is one through which liquids are able to pass.

Grassy fields, woodlands and farmlands are excellent examples of this: rainwater or snowmelt soaks into the ground, pollutants in the water are filtered naturally, and excess water travels underground to streams and eventually (in the Washington region) the Chesapeake Bay.Rainfall that falls on impervious surfaces like paved roads, parking lots and roofs “runs off” unfiltered making its way to the Chesapeake Bay—along with nitrogen and sulfur oxides from vehicle emissions, motor oil, and road salt residue.  


Figure 1 – Map of impermeability throughout the region with overlaid jurisdictional boundaries and Metrorail system for reference. Note the concentrations of highly-impermeable surfaces in central DC and at Dulles.

Figure 1 – Map of impermeability throughout the region with overlaid jurisdictional boundaries and Metrorail system for reference. Note the concentrations of highly-impermeable surfaces in central D.C., and at other activity centers like Dulles.

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Going Up – Why the Construction Pipeline Means Higher Metrorail Ridership (Part Two)

April 7th, 2015 6 comments

In Part Two of this series, we forecast the impact of the region’s near-term development pipeline on Metrorail ridership, using the Land Use-Ridership model. The good news? Metrorail ridership is set to show big gains. The bad news? Your ride just got less roomy.

Just as we were putting the finishing touches on this post, we saw a flurry of news articles detailing the regional market forces that portend increased rail ridership. Millennials choosing not to drive, even as they grow up.  Office parks in far-flung places experiencing devaluations while Metrorail-adjacent areas capturing the lion’s share of new leases.  Marriott announcing that it will seek a transit-accessible location when it moves.  And even defense contractors coming to bat to argue for the economic benefits of the Purple Line. All of this free publicity set us up nicely for what we wanted to share with you – the first results of the Office of Planning’s Land Use-Ridership model as applied to near-term development projects.

The Near-Term Pipeline. Researchers at Jones Lang LaSalle have been compiling a list of actual development projects – under construction, or planned – near Metrorail stations, so that we can forecast the near-term capital needs for the system. A huge amount of development (over 105 million square feet!) is on the books for within a half-mile of a Metrorail station.


Map of near-term development projects near Metrorail, by building type (click for full image)

So, How Much Ridership? What impact will all of this have on Metrorail? We ran these projects through the Land Use-Ridership model, and what we found was both intuitive – and startling. Read more…

Proposed 2040 Metrorail Network

December 5th, 2013 90 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.

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:

Read more…

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.


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


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

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Improving Quality of Life

July 16th, 2013 No comments

Metro also delivers quality-of-life benefits to individuals by reducing the costs of travel and minimizing environmental impacts. Without transit:

  • Congestion at peak times would increase 25 percent, costing over $1.0 billion annually in wasted time.
  • Households would spend an additional $500 million/year in auto expenditures, including an additional 41 million gallons of fuel annually.
  • Air quality would worsen because of an additional 260 tons of volatile organic compounds, 22 tons of particulate matter and 500,000 tons of CO2 equivalent in the air, the equivalent of 9 billion party balloons. Emissions Avoided because of Metro

Read more…

Metro – A Place for Business

June 25th, 2013 3 comments

Metro is critical to the eGISBase_PopEmpByCounty-Apr-2013-v5_Small-2-01prosperity of the region and has a positive effect on business activity. Within one half-mile of rail stations and bus stops there are two million jobs, which account for 54 percent of all jobs in the region. The figure to the right shows how future employment will be focused in the Metrorail service areas of the central jurisdictions and the inner suburbs.

The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) added 275,000 households and 295,000 jobs between 2004 and 2010.  Of that growth, 6.4 percent of new households and 13.8 percent of new jobs located within one-quarter mile of urban Metro stations and one-half mile of suburban ones. The land area around these Metro stations comprises only 1.2 percent of the MSA land area, so Metro-adjacent locations are capturing far more than an average share of growth. When asked, 83 percent of business leaders surveyed by Metro in March, 2013 noted the importance of Metro to their future success. Employers have chosen Metro station areas as highly desirable places to locate jobs and attract employees. Seventy-seven percent of them said the proximity of a Metrorail station was important to where they decided to locate their businesses.

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Announcing 40 Days of Momentum!

June 13th, 2013 2 comments

Momentum CoverYou’ve been diligently telling us what you think our priorities should be and we’ve listened. We’ve been hard at work putting the final touches on Momentum: The Next Generation of Metro and Metro’s Board endorsed the plan today.

Starting Monday, over the following 40 weekdays, we’ll be rolling out the most interesting parts of the plan in daily posts here on PlanItMetro.

Monday Posts: Preparing for Tomorrow’s Region Today

Tuesday Posts: Metro’s Importance to the Region

Wednesday Posts: Metro’s Recent Accomplishments and Public Engagement

Thursday Posts: Strategies and Priority Actions to Make this Vision a Reality

Friday Posts: Metro 2025 – Seven Priority Capital Initiatives

If you want to read and download either the full Momentum plan or the Executive Summary, go right ahead. But if you want to stop back for a daily dose of Momentum, don’t be shy. If you notice something that strikes your fancy, leave us a comment.

Regional support is important to making Momentum a reality! A number of regional stakeholders have already endorsed Momentum. Please sign on and add your name to endorse Momentum and send the message that public transit is vital to the National Capital Region.




L’Enfant Plaza Station Capacity Improvements Study

December 6th, 2012 No comments

The L’Enfant Plaza Station is one of busiest stations in the Metrorail system and handles thousands of passenger transfers on four of the five Metrorail lines.  It ranks third among all stations in absolute ridership growth over the last five years.

Earlier this year, Metro initiated a station capacity improvements study, similar to previous studies that evaluated the feasibility of station access and capacity improvements and station circulation enhancements at Gallery Pl-Chinatown and Union Stations.  The purpose of this study is to identify and address the physical and operational internal capacity constraints of L’Enfant Plaza Station.  Both short-term and long-term capacity enhancement solutions will be sought with operational improvements and constructability in mind.

Current and Future “Hot-Spots” at L’Enfant Plaza Station Platforms during the AM Peak

In order to assess the current and future conditions within L’Enfant station, Metro has used a pedestrian simulation tool that enables the quantification of crowded conditions.  The maps included here show existing and future condition profiles of the upper and lower level platforms within the station.  Future conditions were estimated using MWCOG/TPB travel demand model, Metrorail ridership growth forecasts and Metro origin-destination data sources.  Cumulative mean density maps help to identify “hot-spots” within the station – areas where high levels of crowding are sustained.

Analysis of current pedestrian activity during the AM peak 15-minute interval showed that the station currently operates at safe levels on both platforms in the morning peak hour, and identified a large volume of transfers between the northbound upper platform where Green and Yellow lines run and the westbound lower platform where Orange and Blue lines operate.   By year 2030, however, these conditions are expected to worsen with growth of transfers.  The levels of crowding in the transfer areas leading to the lower platform intensify due to increased passenger flows and space restrictions adjacent to escalators.  Also, high passenger densities are shown to occur at the westbound Orange and Blue platform during the morning rush hours.

A reversed pattern of crowding is shown between the eastbound lower platform and the southbound upper platform for the returning passengers during the PM peak 15-minute interval.  As expected, conditions worsen with increased passenger flows and transfer activity forecast for 2030 on the southbound upper platform.

Current and Future “Hot-Spots” at L’Enfant Plaza Station Platforms during the PM Peak

Given the existing and future “no-build” scenarios presented here, Metro is currently working to develop short and long-term design alternatives for detailed evaluation.  Stay posted for additional simulation and conceptual design results as they become available.