Posts Tagged ‘travel patterns’

Study: Just Six Tracks Carry 30% of People Across the Potomac (57 Highway Bridge Lanes Carry the Rest)

July 29th, 2015 2 comments

A new Virginia study (PDF) finds that Metro and other transit operators carry a major portion of all cross-Potomac travel in a just a few crossings, using far less space than the 57 highway bridge lanes that carry the rest. If built, an expanded bridge crossing will need transit to maximize its ability to move people across the river.

PotomacRiverStudy Map

Transit’s Role is Critical

While some media outlets focused on the study’s highway expansion recommendation, the presentation acknowledged that Metro, VRE, and other bus operators plays a major role in the movement of people across the river from Virginia to DC in the core of the region. Seeing that, we thought we we’d drill down further to estimate how many people are actually crossing the river, using which bridge, and by what mode. Supplementing the study with available transit ridership data and vehicle occupancy data (PDF), we arrived at the following estimates: Read more…

Taylor Swift vs. Nationals – Hit Singles, but No Home Run

July 17th, 2015 6 comments

Ridership from neither of the two back-to-back sold-out Taylor Swift concerts at Nationals Park this week generated as many riders as an average Nationals baseball game.

Entries at Navy Yard by fifteen-minute period, Orange and Gray were nights of the Taylor Swift concerts.

Pop star Taylor Swift brought her 1989 tour to Washington this week, playing two sold-out concerts at Nationals Park, adjacent to the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metrorail station.  According to Swift, approximately 45,000 people attended each concert.  That’s a lot higher than a normal Nationals game, as the concert had seating on the floor as well as in the stands.  One would hope that such big crowds would bump up Metrorail ridership higher than the Nats.  You might be disappointed. Read more…

Cherry Blossoms 2015: The Secret to Beating the Crowds

March 30th, 2015 4 comments

Metro’s planners provide tips on avoiding crowds this Cherry Blossom season.

After this long and trying Washington winter, locals and visitors alike are marking their calendars for the 2015 Cherry Blossom Festival. While everyone knows that Metro is the best way to reach the blossoms, PlanItMetro has been digging into the data to help you minimize the crowd crush and maximize your enjoyment of this treasured DC celebration.

What happens to Metro ridership? As we showed last year, the Cherry Blossoms always bring a major bump to Metrorail ridership, especially on weekends and at Smithsonian station. Metro is ready for the increased demand: track work is cancelled, service levels are increased, and our customer ambassadors are out in the field to help with the needs of visitors. So how do savvy Washingtonians avoid the thickest crowds?

Tip #1: Avoid Smithsonian station

On weekends during Cherry Blossoms, the number of customers exiting Metro at Smithsonian dwarfs every other station during daylight hours

Read more…

Blue Line Riders Helped by Dedicated Signage

June 17th, 2014 7 comments

AlwaysShowBlueLinePIDSv2Some train arrival signs now always show the next Blue Line train, and it’s helping Blue Line riders determine their best route.

At rush times, Blue Line riders know they can sometimes see two or three Yellow or Orange Line trains go by before a Blue Line train arrives. For some riders, knowing just how far away the next Blue Line train is can help them decide: is it worth waiting, or should I get on the next train and transfer at L’Enfant Plaza?

To help Blue Line riders, Metro changed the arrival signs to always show the time until the next Blue Line train arrives, even if it’s more than three trains away.  That means that riders can always tell how far away a Blue Line train is, and decide whether to wait for it, or use the Yellow Line instead. Read more…

Planning for the End of the Driving Boom

March 27th, 2014 1 comment

Americans are driving less and owning fewer cars, which means we have to make different decisions about where to spend scarce transportation resources.

In a fascinating post in the Atlantic Cities, Eric Jaffe doesn’t waste words with assumptions but rather relies on actual data to inform us that America has already reached “peak driving” and that the future of transportation in America is no longer linked to ever-increasing vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

This should come as no surprise, given that VMT has missed forecasted estimates since the early 2000’s. Just check out this handy chart from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Conditions and Performance Report (PDF) to Congress.

Figure 1. U.S. VMT (in trillions) as tracked by FHWA’s Travel Volume Trends (“Actual”) and as projected by U.S. DOT’s C&P reports (by year reports are dated). Via SSTI. Click image for original:


Regional roadway planners are already beginning to embrace this thinking, as the chart from the State Smart Transportation Initiative illustrates in its analysis of MDOT’s transportation plans. These plans not only acknowledge declining VMT, but now omit traffic projections altogether. Read more…

Why isn’t Metro looking at a line to [insert address here]?

December 20th, 2013 10 comments

[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

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

Alignment of a Beltway Line that was tested in the RTSP

Let us know what you think!

More than Metrorail: The Region’s Most Important High-Capacity Surface Transit Corridors

December 19th, 2013 14 comments

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:

  • high-frequency;
  • 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

Regionally Significant High-Capacity Surface Transit Corridors as part of 2040 Regional Transit System Plan

Read more…

Survey Analysis Details Non-Work Trips on Metrorail

December 17th, 2013 10 comments

Almost one in five trips on Metrorail are NOT work-related. Who is making these trips, and where and why are they making them?

Woodley Park-Zoo 042511-131

Metrorail is how many of us in the region get to work.  But, as we will illustrate below, many of us also use it to do other things.

Using data from the 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey, we were able to determine that about 125,000 or 17% trips on an average weekday do not involve travel either to or from ones’ place of work.   This is virtually identical to the results from the 2007 survey.  In order to understand how people use the system for non-work trips, we sorted out everyone who is either going to or coming from work from everyone else.    For example, a trip stopping off at the store after work would not be counted; however, a trip starting out at home and traveling to school would be counted.  In terms of where these non-work trips are going, most are returning home followed by “personal trip” and “shopping or meal.”  


Read more…

Proposed 2040 Metrorail Network

December 5th, 2013 89 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.

Q&A with Mary Hynes: WMATA and Arlington County Board Member

October 21st, 2013 No comments


Mary Hynes, a Metro Board Member, sat down with the Region Forward team to answer a few questions about the region’s biggest challenges, how Metro can help the region meet the goals in Region Forward, and how citizens can get involved. In addition to her role at Metro, Ms. Hynes is an Arlington County Board Member and the Chair of the Council of Governments’ Region Forward Coalition, the public-private group leading the effort to implement COG’s vision for the region’s future.

Q: What do you think are the regions biggest challenges?

Mary Hynes: “The economy is a big challenge. We are still figuring out ‘the new normal’ with the federal government. The issues of housing and how people move efficiently around the region are also critical. It’s critical that we understand how housing and multimodal transportation options fit into the bigger picture of achieving a thriving region built of individual vibrant communities – one that is also attuned and committed to meeting the social equity requirements of our diverse, sustainable region.”

Q: How does Metro help us meet our Region Forward goals?

Mary Hynes: “The Metro Board made a decision when considering how to frame its new strategic plan to key off of Region Forward. We – my colleagues on the Metro Board and Metro’s professional staff – looked at what regional leaders had done with Region Forward—the goals they had set—and said “Metro can be the catalyst that enhances regional mobility and convenes stakeholders to ensure a successful, integrated regional multi-modal system”. We worked with the Transportation Planning Board at COG to make sure Momentum and the TPB’s Priorities Plan are aligned.  It wasn’t hard because, in fact, there is regional consensus on the next set of transportation moves the region needs to make.

It’s an exciting time to be participating with COG and Metro. It’s a remarkable moment because people share the same vision. Leaders across the region have learned the same lessons. So the time is right!  Just as regional leaders did 50 years ago when planning Metro, we all must lock our arms, commit to a funding plan, and move forward together.”

Read the full interview!