RTSP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

October 15th, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)


1. What is the Regional Transit System Plan (RTSP) 2040?

The Regional Transit Systems Plan (RTSP) for 2040 is a study of the region’s future transit needs, developed with input and guidance from all of the WMATA signatories, which, upon completion, will result in a long range multi-modal, transit system plan for the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Northern Virginia.

2. What transit modes does the RTSP include?


The RTSP will evaluate the impact of all modes of transit including:  local bus, express bus, streetcar, light rail and heavy rail. Additionally, the RTSP will identify opportunities to enhance efficiencies of the aforementioned modes by providing improved access to pedestrians, bicycles and single-occupancy vehicles (SOV’s) at transit facilities (i.e. stations, stops, etc.).

3. How does the RTSP relate to other regional plans and programs? (i.e. TIP, other local plans etc.)

The RTSP study uses the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) adopted Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP) as the baseline of regional transportation improvements.  The CLRP is based on the surface transportation plans and projects approved in the respective Transportation Improvement Plans (TIP’s) of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. The RTSP study will evaluate several future growth scenarios beyond the CLRP to develop a regional transit system plan based on input by the RTSP Technical Advisory Committee members and the public.

4. Why is the RTSP needed?

Planning and building the 103-mile Metrorail and Metrobus system took approximately 40 years, and now with significant capital infrastructure in place, it is time to develop a regional plan to meet forecasted transit demand and address bus and rail system capacity constraints.  The RTSP 2040 will be our regional guide for future transportation investments that improve the quality of life in the Washington metropolitan region for residents, employees and visitors alike.

The RTSP 2040 will establish a vision and a corresponding long range plan of transportation improvements that incorporates: travel and ridership forecasts; jurisdictional land use goals; regional economic development initiatives and capacity constraints.    This plan will go beyond the current 2030 planning horizon and provide a blueprint for the types of transit investments we will need to make in the future.

5. How does the RTSP impact the current WMATA budget?

The RTSP has negligible impact on the WMATA operating and capital budget.  Having the RTSP will guide budgets in the future years, enabling them to be cost-effective investments in transit services and infrastructure.


6. How will the RTSP affect my bus/rail service?


The RTSP study and final plan will not affect current bus/rail service.  The RTSP study is a plan to inform the amount and type of transit investments the region will need to make beyond the 2030 planning horizon in order to accommodate projected growth in population and employment.


7. How will the RTSP help my jurisdiction/agency?

The RTSP will help in three ways: 1.) The RTSP can be used as a framework for local planning investments in jurisdictions; 2.) The RTSP will help inform the level and nature of investments that jurisdictions will need to make and provide a baseline to conduct financial planning; 3.) The RTSP will provide a solid plan that jurisdictions can point to for the economic development initiatives and plans for the future.


8. How is the RTSP affected by land use and how does it affect land use?


The RTSP is intended to source the planned land uses in the region and all of its localities as specified in Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Round 7.2 Forecasts.  The RTSP and recommendations for future transit investments will be based on future land use plans in the region such as new activity/employment centers.    If applied appropriately, the location and densities of future developments in the region will support the proposed RTSP transit investments in the region.

9. What criteria are being used for evaluating options?


The evaluation criteria the RTSP study will employ are below:


  • Sufficient Capacity to Serve Demand
  • Reserve Capacity/Redundancy
  • Station Capacity
  • Transit Systems Coverage
  • Service to Major Activity Centers
  • Metrorail Parking Sufficiency
  • Reduce Dependence on Automobile Access to Metrorail
  • Region-wide Transit Share
  • Transit Access to Jobs
  • Passenger Miles Per Route Mile

10. How can the RTSP be made affordable to transit riders and taxpayers?


Having the RTSP, which is systematically looking at cost-effectiveness, will keep the costs manageable versus having ad hoc projects.  The RTSP also helps to support the best balance of federal, state and local shares of the transit investment.  Sharing of costs between riders and taxpayers will need to be considered over time as budgets are developed to achieve balance.

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