While waiting for a Metro train one day in Singapore, I noticed their rail map diagram had a big white space and then the rest of the map. Upon closer inspection the ‘white’ part was actually a grayed out part of the rail map showing the route the train had already covered. Having that information is very useful, particularly for a traveler unfamiliar with the system. One knows if they are starting at this particular station (Paya Lebar), what their options might be if he/she actually wanted to go in the opposite direction. This information gives the rider a helpful reference point in relationship to the rest of the system. Also upon closer inspection I saw that the map gave expected travel times between stations. How great is that?
Ten years ago I moved to Tokyo for work. Unfortunately, my Japanese language skills were non-existent, so I spent much of those early months perpetually lost on Tokyo’s streets. But underground it was a different story. If you’ve ever been, you know that many of the central Tokyo stations are massive – multiple exits, mezzanines, pedestrian tunnels, and tons and tons of people. However, Tokyo Metro, the JR East Lines and the private rail lines that together create the city’s rail network have a good wayfinding system provided in Japanese and English that make it fairly easy to get around underground.
NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday highlighted Arlington County‘s success in tackling commuting challenges, particularly as a result of the decision to bring Metrorail and transit-oriented development to the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.
When the Metrorail system was initially designed in the early 1960s, the plan proposed running the Orange Line in the median of what would ultimately become Interstate 66. Arlington County officials lobbied hard and put forward county funds to bring the Orange Line to its existing home, under Wilson Boulevard. They foresaw the benefits of high capacity transit IN the neighborhoods, as opposed to adjacent to the neighborhoods. They also set forth zoning, planning, and other policies to ensure that the county would maximize the benefits from that decision. The NPR story talks about the results of those decisions, the shift from a post-World War II auto-dependent suburb to a vibrant, mixed-use community that has become the gold standard for many cities across the world.
For more background on the history, growth, and experience with transit-oriented development in the corridor, check out this powerpoint from the Arlington County Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development. Not only does it provide additional information, it has some terrific before and after photos of the different Arlington neighborhoods and how they have changed. Parkington, anyone?
If you’d like to contribute to the NPR series, you can share your commuting experience with Morning Edition – #NPRcommute.
Yesterday’s NPR story was the first in a multi-part series on how communities are tackling commuting challenges.
Metro is pleased to release the update to the Metrorail system map that shows phase one of the Silver Line in service and phase 2 under construction.
Metro’s original system map designer, Lance Wyman, began working with Metro again a few years ago when we needed to update the system map to accommodate the “Rush-Plus” service plan. Since then, the team has been working to incorporate the Silver Line onto the system map. After several months and extensive customer feedback, Metro is pleased to release the updated map, above. Read more…
A handful of end-of-line stations’ parking facilities are doing the lion’s share of extending the reach of Metro across the region, while parking at most other stations primarily serves nearby residents.
Parking at rail stations is traditionally thought to extend the geographic reach of transit in the region, by giving longer-distance commuters a way to access a rail station. Based on an analysis of Metro parking customers’ origins, a handful of large end-of-line Metro parking facilities perform this function, but most Metrorail parking facilities do not. Nine Metrorail stations are capturing 70 percent of all customers who drive from more than three miles to park-and-ride, while the 26 other Metro parking facilities primarily serve the surrounding neighborhoods.
Our map of parking customers’ origins showed how far Metro’s reach extends across the region. Now, this map shows the dominant station among Park & Ride customers, by half square-mile, for a typical weekday:
Areas where there is no clear primary station are shaded gray: for example, the dividing line between Southern Ave. and Branch Ave. stations. The dominant station is shown, regardless of how many Park & Ride customers there are for a square. There is some noise in this data, but two “flavors” of parking emerge: Read more…
You’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.
- Added the Metro Transit Police phone number;
- Made the rail lines 24% thinner;
- Added the Anacostia National Park;
- Included a note that the map is not to scale;
- Placed a darkened Silver Line between the Blue and Orange lines; and
- Lightened the Beltway and jurisdiction borders.
We are now down to selecting the icon to represent a three-line station. When we asked for feedback in the last round, some of you said that you didn’t like the idea of a completely new, third type of icon on the map (i.e., the capsule). Others said you liked the capsule, but it was too thin. It was recommended that we try to make the capsule the same width as the current station dot, but stretch it into an oval.
After reviewing your comments, Lance Wyman went back to his drawing board and came up with these two options:
- Map #1: Retains the current station dot with thin, white extenders
- Map #2: Stretches the current station dot into an oval
Take a look at these final versions and let us know which one you prefer. All comments welcome! Please provide feedback in the comments section below or on our MindMixer site. Thank you for your input.
The Silver Line is coming soon, so Metro and original Metrorail map designer Lance Wyman are updating the current map. Based on extensive customer feedback from the last map revision, we made some general improvements such as making street abbreviations consistent and improving the geographic accuracy of the stations where possible. Cross streets will remain on the large version of the maps in stations and on trains, where it is most useful for customers as they are traveling on Metro. But in the interest of readability and streamlining, we will keep cross streets off smaller versions of the map often found online and in printed materials.
The first draft of the map
(Map 1) also featured 14 percent thinner lines to help readability, now that the Silver Line will travel through DC, and a new station icon with lines that extended across all three rail colors. This version also included the new Silver Line station names for Phase 1.
When we asked for feedback on the draft earlier this year, here’s what you told us: try even thinner lines, explore other station dot options, and “Center” and “Heights” should not be abbreviated.
So here are two new maps for your review. In both maps, “Center” and “Heights” are no longer abbreviated. Map 1 below is an update of the previous draft, with slightly longer “whiskers”. Map 2 incorporates some additional changes:
- 24 percent thinner lines, and
- the use of a capsule-shaped station icon.
Please compare the two maps, visible below, and let us know which one you prefer.
To compare the maps, slide the vertical bar across the image to show the differences between Map 1 and Map 2. Further below you will find a zoom-in of both maps, also with the vertical slider bar for easy comparison.
Of the 120 COG regional activity centers in the Metro Compact Jurisdictions, 81 are now or will soon be served by high quality Metro transit, either Metrorail or the Metrobus Priority Corridor Network (PCN). That means that two-thirds of these activity centers are primed to support transit-oriented developments. The map above illustrates the activity centers in the core jurisdictions and their level of transit service. Click the image for a full regional map.
Some jurisdictions have placed a greater emphasis on high-quality transit service when deciding upon areas to designate as regional activity centers. The chart below shows the total number of activity centers per jurisdiction and the percentage served by Metrorail and/or the PCN. The core jurisdictions (the District, Arlington and Alexandria) each have over 80% of their activity centers served by high-quality Metro transit. The beltway jurisdictions (Montgomery, Prince George’s and Fairfax counties) have between 48% and 70% of their activity centers served. Loudoun County, soon to be added to the compact with two activity centers receiving Metrorail service when the Metrorail to Dulles Phase II comes online, has the lowest percentage of activity centers served by Metro.
The relationship between regional activity and high-quality transit is no accident. Economic activity gravitates towards areas of greater accessibility, including Metrorail station areas and commercial corridors — once streetcar routes — currently served by Metrobus. However, transit service can also be extended to areas of economic activity which developed due to good highway accessibility, such as Tysons Corner.
As the local jurisdictions continue to focus population and employment growth into these areas, Metro and other regional transit operators are working to connect them to the regional core and to one another through high-quality transit. It is clear from the current levels of highway congestion that Metropolitan Washington needs more high-quality Metro service (bus and rail) in order to support the growth anticipated over the next 25 years.
About the COG Activity Centers
The activity centers list, recently updated by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), describes where the local jurisdictions plan to focus household and job growth in order to support regional goals of transit-friendly development patterns and sustainability. This updated list includes 120 activity centers within the Metro Compact Jurisdictions (including Loudoun County) and additional 19 within the COG planning area not served by Metro, including Charles, Frederick and Prince William Counties, and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.
On January 17th and 18th, two staffers from Metro’s Office of Planning attended a two day transit network design course, offered by long time transit planning consultant, transit blogger and now author, Jarrett Walker. In transit planning circles, Walker’s recent efforts, culminating with “Human Transit,” have been very well regarded. For many planners, his book has been a breath of fresh air in helping to demystify how complex transit offerings can be made more simple, customer focused, effective, and useful for everyday city life. Many planners have an appreciation of the attention he has given to linguistics, and how word choice (i.e., the use of “transfer” vs. “connection” or “transit route” vs. “transit line”) can subtly reinforce or undermine certain collective beliefs about the usefulness of transit, or anything else for that matter.
The participants in the DC course were fairly diverse, although all of those in attendance had a vested interest in transit in some way. Among these were urban planners, consultants, advocates, and transit planners, among others. Care was taken to ensure that each working group had a included at least one transit professional mixed with other disciplines and backgrounds in order to facilitate a balanced discussion. Read more…