Metro’s Ten-Year Capital Needs Inventory and Prioritization is Complete

December 5th, 2016 No comments

Metro needs to invest $17B over 10 years to achieve and maintain a State of Good Repair.

In June 2016, we introduced the initiation of the 2016 Capital Needs Inventory (CNI), with the goal to develop a list of fiscally unconstrained and prioritized investment needs over the next ten years and to meet the new federal Transit Asset Management (TAM) requirements. After seven months of rigorous work, the first phase of the CNI is coming to a completion!

Figure 1: CNI Final Report

CNI Final Report (click for link to PDF)

What distinguishes this CNI from Metro’s efforts in previous decades? Breakthroughs on several fronts:

  • It represents the first time that Metro developed a ground-up, data-driven and FTA-compliant method for asset prioritization.
  • It consolidates asset data sources and builds a complete asset inventory database that catalogue higher-level assets and asset features.
  • It estimates asset condition (and need rehab/replacement date) based on measurable data such as age of asset and history of rehabilitation, and projects replacement and rehabilitation needs to advance a State of Good Repair (SGR).
  • It establishes a prioritization methodology aligned with Metro’s strategic goals and priorities and uses FTA’s TERM (Transit Economic Requirements Model) to prioritize all asset needs.

Here is a sneak peek of the CNI:

Read more…

Marriott’s Headquarters in Bethesda Helps Metro

November 29th, 2016 1 comment

The relocation of Marriott’s headquarters to downtown Bethesda would bring new riders and revenue to Metro, without straining Metro’s capacity. A win-win!

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Downtown Bethesda

Marriott last month announced it will move its headquarters to downtown Bethesda, bringing over 3,500 employees to a location that’s now accessible to the Red Line. The move will help Metro by attracting more riders and fare revenue to the Red Line.  Using our S.W.A.R.M. model, we estimate that the new headquarters will bring about 1,200 new boardings/day on Metrorail, and over $1 million per year in new fare revenue.

What’s more, we’ve already got space for these new riders.  Since most of the new riders would be reverse-commuters (towards Bethesda in the morning) or would originate in Montgomery County, they would not strain existing crowding on-board trains at our pinch points, a.k.a. our maximum load points. Bethesda station has sufficient vertical circulation capacity for them as well.  In short, this move is a win-win for Metro, the riders, and our funding partners, and we applaud the decision.

Checking in Down Stream: Metro’s Net Zero Water Treatment Facility 2 Years In

November 21st, 2016 1 comment

Two years into operation Metro’s solar powered high efficiency water treatment facility continues to work as designed by producing as much energy as it needs on-site to perform the entire subsurface water treatment process.

img_8151According to Basil Borisov, Environmental Engineer at Metro’s Office of Environmental Management and Industrial Hygiene, “During the summer of 2016, the Largo Water Treatment Facility has been generating more power than it uses.  The monthly surplus of electricity has almost reached 300 kWh; for comparison, a typical refrigerator uses 50 to 100 kWh per month.  Excess electricity was generated on more than 25 days out of each month.”

 

Clean energy water treatment supporting a clean Bay – keep up the good work.

 

Data Download: Metrobus Vehicle Location Data

November 16th, 2016 2 comments

Here’s your chance to analyze and visualize the movements of the Metrobus fleet.

In anticipation of the upcoming Metro Hack Night, Metrobus planning staff has generated an automated vehicle location (AVL) systems data set. The data set, for five days in October, shows the time that each Metrobus was at each stop over the course of the day, the buses’ dwell time, and a comparison of actual stop time to scheduled stop time.

Real-time arrival sings at Metrobus stops around the region are powered by automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems on-board buses.

What can be done with this kind of data? Here are a few ideas:

  • Look at how the running times for routes varies across the day
  • Calculate vehicle speeds across the region
  • Dive deep into on-time performance
  • See how dwell times affect running times, speeds, and on-time performance
  • Map the movements of Metrobus vehicles over time
  • Get a better understanding of Metrobus operations, including how vehicles are interlined among routes and the number of different variations of some routes

Come on techies! Dive in and find new and inspirational ways to look at this data.

Please post links to your work in the comments!

Metrobus_AVL_Oct_2016.zip (319 MB zip file)

And some brief documentation:

Metrobus AVL Data Dictionary(.docx, 13 KB)

 

 

Categories: Engage Tags: , , ,

Abilities-Ride Program: An Alternative to MetroAccess

October 11th, 2016 No comments

In this guest post, Mr. Christiaan Blake, Director, WMATA Office of ADA Policy and Planning describes a new cost-cutting partnership called Abilities-Ride.

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Mr. Christiaan Blake, Director, WMATA Office of ADA Policy and Planning

On September 30, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for its new Abilities-Ride program. Abilities-Ride is designed to provide MetroAccesseligible customers with access to a general trip purpose alternative in the Prince George’s and Montgomery County sections of the MetroAccess service area. Depending on the results of the program, Abilities-Ride could be expanded to cover the entirety of the MetroAccess service area. Abilities-Ride will not be a Metro service, but instead a public-private partnership between Metro and one or more vendors that provide existing or soon-to-be established generally available on-demand service. Metro will subsidize up to $15 per eligible customer trip.

MetroAccess Sustainability

MetroAccess is the region’s designated paratransit service for people whose disabilities prevent them from using bus and/or rail services for at least some of their trips. As outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), paratransit services like MetroAccess were designed to be a safety net. However, in many places, including the Metro service region, demand for paratransit has grown at unsustainable rates. To address the growth in demand for MetroAccess, WMATA has been facilitating the availability of new alternative services among which MetroAccess customers could choose. The new alternatives include the Coordinated Alternatives to Paratransit Service (CAPS) pilot program for trips to/from human services agencies, and the highly successful TransportDC service that allows Washington, DC residents eligible for MetroAccess to call a cab for medical and work-related trips anywhere in DC for a flat, $5 fare. Read more…

Transit Supportive Densities – What Do They Look Like?

October 5th, 2016 2 comments

A visual of what transit supportive densities look like for different transit modes

Recently, GreaterGreaterWashington blogged about density, using Google maps 3D images to show what different densities look like in Washington, DC. Visuals like these are so important because most people hear “density”, think “Manhattan” and can’t say “no” quickly enough. Last fall, we completed work as part of ConnectGreaterWashington and the Transit Corridor Expansion Guidelines that illustrated the differences in desired employment and/or residential densities within a transit walkshed by each mode.

As is typical for planning projects, especially when expanding transit service along new corridors, density is discussed and jobs and/or households per acre targets are tossed around. But most people (full disclosure, that includes me) do not know what 4 households per acre or 150 jobs per acre looks like. It is especially important because a residential target of 12 households per acre within a half-mile of a suburban Metrorail station, for example, does not mean that every residential dwelling needs to meet that target. Instead, within the half-mile radius, the overall density should be 12 or more households per acre. That gives plenty of room to have less dense single family homes (on small lots) and more dense high rise apartments with studios and one-bedrooms.

Below are example stations for each mode and the employment and/or residential density targets, along with images of the different building types that combine to meet or exceed the targets. We’d appreciate your feedback on whether they make sense to you and if they would resonate with the general public.

Metrorail (Suburban) Densities
Note, because of the variability in density across the Metrorail system, we created two types of Metrorail stations to estimate densities.

Employment Density - Metrorail Suburban

Read more…

Check Out the Agenda for Metro’s Data Day – “Destination Ideation”

October 4th, 2016 No comments

Agenda released for upcoming event focused on identifying rider needs in the apps & maps space.

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Expect name tags and group activities at our upcoming event. Photo credit Open Data Nation.

Two weeks ago we announced we were hosting an event here at Metro on October 15th to engage the developer, rider and advocate communities to uncover unmet needs and potential solutions to them.  We plan to have some fun and meet new people, and we are calling it Destination Ideation.

While we are busily preparing for the event, we invite you to go ahead and check out the event agenda.  (PDF)

For those who are interested but haven’t signed up yet, please go to the event page to claim your free ticket.  We need a good estimate of the head-count to manage the event.

Download:  agenda-destination-ideation-v2

RSVP:  http://tinyurl.com/destinationideation

We are looking forward to seeing you on October 15!

Is New York City’s Select Bus Service A Potential Model for Improving Metrobus?

October 3rd, 2016 1 comment

New York City’s Select Bus Service may provide an excellent model – and a few cautionary lessons – for WMATA’s Priority Corridor Network and a Metrobus Off-Board Fare Payment System (OBFPS).

Earlier this year, a small team of planners from Metro’s Office of Planning, the Office of Bus Planning, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), and DC Surface Transit had an opportunity to visit our colleagues in New York and to see their Select Bus Service (SBS) in action. Metro and our partners think it may provide both a good model and some cautionary lessons as we move forward with bus prioritization strategies, off-board fare payment, and the Priority Corridor Network.

Slower buses = worse service, higher costs

Just as we’ve experienced in and around DC, bus speeds in New York have fallen steadily over the past two decades, and continue to do so. As of 2013, the average speed for Metrobus routes is 10.5 mph. The system-wide average speed of a bus in New York has fallen to 7.5 mph, and routes serving some of the most congested corridors in Manhattan and Brooklyn are down to 4-5 mph. Traffic congestion generated by dynamic growth in jobs and population is the single greatest impediment to faster bus service, but it isn’t the only factor. Just as in our region, buses in New York spend only half of their in-service time actually moving forward; the rest is taken up by traffic signals and passenger boarding:

NYC and DC Average Bus Run Time Factors

Read more…

With Additional Price Points, SelectPass Sales Continues to Grow

September 29th, 2016 3 comments

Metro added an additional seven price points to SelectPass starting in August, and customers have started to take notice!

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SelectPass sales by month in a stacked line graph, meaning total sales is the value of the upper-most line.

Perhaps you recall Metro is testing a new, custom-value pass.  Customers “select” their usual commute trip and then can purchase a monthly pass priced at 18 days of commute travel.  Since all months have more than 18 work days, this new pass offers regular customers a great deal.  The pass began with two price points ($2.25 and $3.75) and included rail-only and rail-bus options.

As you may have heard, Metro expanded the SelectPass pilot to 7 new price points on August 22, for September passes. And customers have responded.  As you can see in the graphic above, the base-fare pass sales for September exceeded their sales levels for July.  And instead of eating into sales of the base-fare pass, the new price points are adding additional pass sales.

A recent customer experience survey polled over four thousand current or former SelectPass customers, where we learned the following: Read more…

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Biking and SafeTrack – Highlighting the Need for Bike Infrastructure

September 28th, 2016 No comments

Transit and bikes go hand in hand. Not only can riders bike to and from stations for that first and last mile, but biking is a great way to get around when Metrorail is under maintenance.  It’s important that our policy makers understand the importance of having good bike infrastructure.

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Biking to historic Howard Theater (photo courtesy of APA’s Sam Schipani)

On Sunday, September 18th, I rode around DC with a bunch of planners from across the country in town for the American Planning Association’s (APA) annual Policy and Advocacy Conference.  This annual conference gears planners up to advocate for federal, state and local policies that advance good planning principles through the legislative process.   There are two days of training workshops and speaker sessions and an entire day of meetings on Capitol Hill, where planners meet with their representatives to discuss planning issues and their importance to creating strong communities.

One of the training sessions sponsored by the APA Virginia Young Planners Group (YPG) was a mobile workshop on bicycle infrastructure planning and the role of the bicycle as a viable transportation option.  I was there as a speaker to provide some background about bicycling as an alternative for riders trying to get around during our SafeTrack rebuilding program.  Two other speakers very familiar with the biking world here in DC were on the tour as well – Jim Sebastian, who manages DDOT’s Active Transportation Branch and is their chief bike planner responsible for most of the DC bicycling infrastructure that has come on-line in the last decade and helped make DC #4 in the country for bike commuting, and Doug Smith, WABA’s Everyday Bicycling Coordinator. Read more…