Transit expansion is in demand but Metrorail, light rail, and other high capacity transit projects can be expensive to build, operate and maintain. With limited resources to invest, our region must ensure that these projects serve the most robust transit markets and are supported by strong transit friendly policies.
Informed by our peers and local performance measures, Metro is developing guidelines that the region can use to inform development of high capacity transit projects. As we’ve explored previously, there’s much more to transit expansion than Metrorail. In fact, due to the cost associated with Metrorail expansion along with existing land uses and built environment in much of the region, most of our future high capacity transit projects will be made up of other transit modes. But what is the best way to decide what mode best fits each corridor? The goal of the expansion guidelines is to inform those decisions.
Development in Arlington’s Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor has validated initial and ongoing investments in Metrorail. (source: Arlington County)
A literature and peer review included policy documents from BART (PDF), the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Florida DOT, Virginia DRPT, Federal Transit Administration (PDF), and research from the University of California Transportation Center (UCTC). The review found that ridership, density, the presence of walkable streets and sidewalks, local plans and policies, and cost effectiveness are the most relevant criteria to evaluate transit projects and that rigorous performance targets are needed to support each transit mode. Read more…
Categories: RTSP BART, BRT, corridors, DRPT, Light Rail, Metrorail, plans, ridership, Streetcars, tod, transit-oriented development
[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
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
Let us know what you think!
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:
- 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
Categories: RTSP BRT, bus, capacity, Light Rail, Metrorail, planning, plans, priority, rail, ridership, RTSP, Streetcar, studies, travel patterns
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.
Orange Line – Proposed and Actual Alignments
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.
The 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.
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.
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
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.
Categories: In The News access, bike, bike parking, BRT, bus, meetings, Metrorail, pedestrian, planning, plans, presentations, public comment, rail, stations, tod
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.
Regional Transit System Plan (RTSP)
- 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.
This is the second post in a two-part series based on 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.
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:
This is the first post in a two-part series based on 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
The year 2040 may seem distant and removed, but in the context of transit planning, it is right around the corner. Metro’s Office of Planning is in the process of developing the 2040 Regional Transit System Plan (RTSP), which will outline a comprehensive regional transit network to prepare the region’s transit system for continued growth.
The RTSP, along with other elements that may be identified in the future, will need to be evaluated as necessary to meet the demands in the future. The plan includes a combination of core system improvements, which are included as part of Metro 2025 above, as well as system connectivity and expansion projects. Most importantly, it combines all modes in the region’s transit system, whether or not Metro will build or operate them. The strategies in the plan are designed to both serve existing areas better and provide service to new areas, helping to realize Region Forward’s vision of regional activity centers with transit options that improve regional mobility, enhance commerce and competitiveness, and have environmental and health benefits for generations to come.
Momentum builds upon and advances a number of regionally significant planning studies that are either recently completed – or underway. They include:
- Region Forward: A vision for the DC region created by the MWCOG. It addresses the interrelated challenges of population growth, aging infrastructure, traffic congestion, energy costs, environmental impacts, affordable housing and sustainable development, as well as disparities in education, economics and health (2010)
- Economy Forward: A companion piece to Region Forward that reinforces the importance of transit to the region’s overall competitiveness (2012)
- Financially Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan (CLRP): The region’s official long-range transportation plan that outlines the priority projects to be implemented in the region between 2012 and 2040 as prioritized by the Transportation Planning Board (TPB) and local jurisdictions (2012)