Local leaders are set to commit to Metro’s long term state of good repair needs for the first time through the region’s transportation plan, but the plan omits key investments that are critical to solving some of the region’s most critical needs.
This fall the region’s transportation leaders will approve an update the Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP) financial plan, required by federal law every four years, to ensure the region’s ability to pay for transportation expenditures with reasonably anticipated revenues. During the 2014 update, Metro collaborated with staff from the Transportation Planning Board (TPB), the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the three state DOTs to identify funding for the system’s long-term operations and maintenance (O&M) and capital needs. The draft plan, which expresses the region’s major transportation priorities, is scheduled to be adopted by the TPB on October 15th.
Projection of Metro’s future fleet State of Good Repair (SGR) capital needs
The Transportation Planning Board (TPB) estimates that without funding commitments from Congress, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia for Metro’s ongoing maintenance and core capacity improvements, as many as 32,000 future daily transit riders would be pushed onto the roadways instead.
In a recent report, the TPB cites that under the current funding trajectory, Metrorail riders will face significant crowding and experience less service reliability in the future. Critics often cite low forecasts of future Metrorail ridership from the TPB as a reason to avoid committing robust levels of funding for transit. What they don’t tell you is that the ridership numbers emerging from the travel demand model are manually “capped” so that there is no ridership growth beyond 2020 – the year beyond which current levels of maintenance funding levels expires. In other words, because regional leaders have not committed to funding transit, those that forecast travel demand have decided to stop forecasting increases in transit usage. Were it not for this artificial “cap”, travel demand forecasts would show much higher numbers of future transit use. We all know that such a “cap” ignores the last 10-15 years of increasing transit usage region-wide (performance analysis of the CLRP )
Metro’s strategic plan, known as Momentum, proposes a number of core capacity improvements to handle more riders, and offers a plan of initiatives necessary to remove the so-called “transit constraint” placed on the system in 2000. Metro 2025, one of the main components of Momentum, includes:
Accommodating future household and employment growth exercise
This past spring Metro planners participated in the latest session of the Transportation Planning Board‘s (TPB) Community Leadership Institute (CLI).
The CLI is an educational program put on by the TPB that brings together community leaders and educates them on the regional issues as well as how the transportation decision making process works for this region. The program takes place over the course of three workshops.
The CLI is an excellent way to meet new people in the region who are interested in transportation issues, as well as a way to learn about the challenges that the region currently faces. The latter was especially brought out in the two presentations on ‘What if the Washington Region Grew Differently? – Regional Challenges & Exploring Options’. The group exercise for this portion of the Institute included having to work with other members of your assigned team to decide where household and employment growth was going to occur throughout the region, and where the transportation improvements should be located to accommodate this growth. That was easy enough. However, right after that, all the groups were told that they would have to pay for the transportation improvements they had asked for earlier and that’s when people realized how expensive transportation improvements are and how difficult it can be to work with people who have different transportation priorities. Read more…
State of the Commute Survey Results
Last summer, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) posted the results from the 2010 State of the Commute (SOC) Survey. Metro planners are reviewing the results now in support of our Regional Transit System Plan, which is looking to better connect areas of concentrated growth, such as the regional activity centers, and increase core capacity through 2040. The survey is conducted every three years to help MWCOG’s Transportation Planning Board better understand commuting trends and evaluate the effectiveness of its Commuter Connections program, which provides information about and benefits for commuting by transit and carpooling instead of single-occupancy vehicles (SOV).