Archive for September, 2012

Metro’s Office of Planning Welcomes Shyam Kannan

September 28th, 2012 1 comment

Metro is excited to welcome Shyam Kannan to the position of Managing Director of the Office of Planning.  He offers the following statement to the online planning community.

Shyam Kannan speaking at the Capitol Riverfront BID's Annual Meeting. Photo credit: Tony DeFilippo Photography

After a decade consulting for real estate developers and public agencies alike, I learned the following:transportation drives development – always has, always will. The economic competitiveness of the Washington, D.C. region – especially in a rapidly-evolving global marketplace for talent and investment – is inextricably linked to the quality and appeal of its transit system. Furthermore, there is a window of opportunity right now as Metro continues to restore its aging system to a state of good repair to ensure that the right plans and visions are in place to guide the system – and the region – towards continued prosperity, vibrancy, inclusivity, and health for decades to come.

I look forward to working with Metro, the rider community, and our public leaders to bring forward-thinking and strategic solutions to the many challenges that the system faces and will face over the coming years. Admittedly, I’m a data hound, planning geek, transit aficionado – but I’m also a real estate economist, steward of public process, collaborator, and problem solver. Working to connect the dots and ensure that we have sound ideas that are not only beneficial to the region and sit on firm financial foundations, but also have measurable returns on investment is critically important to this office’s agenda, and we are wiring it into the DNA of everything we do.

Categories: In The News Tags:

Metrobus Fuel Efficiency on the Rise

September 27th, 2012 8 comments

In recent years, the fuel efficiency of the Metrobus fleet has significantly improved, reducing Metro’s fuel expenses, and improving Metro’s environmental sustainability.

Metro’s bus fuel efficiency has increased by 27% over the past eight years, reducing fuel costs and improving environmental sustainability.

Over the past 8 years, the average fuel economy of Metro’s bus fleet has increased by 27%, from 2.96 miles per gallon (MPG) to 3.76 MPG today. The chart at right illustrates this trend, using actual odometer and fuel readings which are gathered and stored by our bus technology group.(Note that these figures include the consumption of compressed natural gas [CNG], expressed as gallon-equivalents. The slight dip in FY2011 is the result of some data loss during a transition to an electronic mileage tracking system.)

What is Causing this Trend? This steady increase in fuel economy is generally the result of technological improvements in the fleet.  Metro has been replacing older standard diesel buses with newer diesel-electric hybrid, CNG, and clean diesel models.  In particular, introducing diesel-electric hybrid buses to the fleet has helped push up the average: on the streets today, our diesel-electric hybrid fleets are achieving average mileage of 4.49 MPG.  Metro purchased its first hybrid bus fleet in 2006, and today these buses provide 41% of Metro’s bus vehicle-miles.commercial jumping castle for sale

Read more…

Metrobus System Map Redesign

September 19th, 2012 86 comments

Ask anyone in the transit industry, from any country or any city, and they’ll be quick to tell you that WMATA’s bus system is one of the most complex in the world.  So many lines, so many routes, so many variations, so many streets, so many buses!  It really all speaks to the great lengths that Metro takes to ensure premium bus service is provided to its many customers spanning a vast service area. As you might expect, if such a system has been coined complex by transit industry “experts,” then surely the system would be thought complex by the average bus customer.  Therein lies the challenge:how do you take this complex, complicated, extensive bus network and relay it to customers in a clear, simple, yet fairly detailed manner?  Well, there’s not just one answer to that question.  But, one of the main tools Metro uses to inform bus customers of their travel options is the Metrobus System Route Map.

The current pair of System Route Maps, DC/MD (PDFs) and DC/VA (PDF), display the travel patterns for each Metrobus route in each jurisdiction (MD, DC, VA). In short, they answer the question, “How can I get there on the bus?”  These geographically detailed maps chart out the complex routes Metrobus travels, leading customers from the origin to the destination of their trip, calling out street names, shared routes, schools and points of interest along the way.

Subset of the previous DC Metrobus map showing northeast DC

While these maps have served their purpose over the years in acclimating customers to Metro’s bus network, there is room for improvement.  For instance, while the current system maps display all the bus service for Metro, there is no consideration given to frequency of service, i.e. how often a bus runs.  This could cause problems in that while the map might show that a bus route services a particular area, it does not relay information that the bus might only service that area during the a.m. rush or on the weekend.  In addition, while the maps are geographically detailed, this detail comes at a high price; cluttering the map with many lines in many directions that make it difficult for customers to follow along and actually trace the pattern of the route they need.

These and other deficiencies in the current system map have been the impetus for WMATA looking into different ways to illustrate our bus service.  In November of 2010, Metro’s Office of Long Range Planning released a draft “Metrobus High-Frequency Corridors Map” on this site, to gather feedback on how we might better explain our complicated bus system to users.  The feedback received was incorporated into additional planning work on a Metrobus map design.

Following extensive design work, Metro is pleased to announce revised draft system maps that more clearly depict bus routes and delineate frequency of service, all part of our ever evolving efforts to provide richer and clearer travel information to our customers.  Click the links below to view samples of the new maps. Feel free to give us your feedback, and note that these maps will be revised based on feedback from customers.


Subset of new draft DC Metrobus map showing northeast DC.


Below, you will find some key features of the system map redesign: Read more…

Categories: Planning Studies Tags: ,

Developing Metrorail Service Standards

September 5th, 2012 16 comments

Just as Metro has standards guiding major policy decisions for its bus services, we are now taking the first steps in establishing a similar framework for its rail service. Service standards are important to define service quality and quantity as well as future capital investment needs, such as increasing core capacity and adding more service. As with any standard, there are constraints. Physical constraints include equipment, system capacity and tunnel throughput. In addition to physical limitations, there are budget constraints for staff, to make system investments or to purchase more rail cars. To begin the formalization of service standards, Metro is starting with three, simple key standards:hours of service, rush hour headway and rush hour capacity. Establishing the foundation for rail service standards now will allow us to add more quality standards in the future. Additionally, these service standards will provide a base for further discussions to come in Board’s strategic planning effort. To ensure we’re heading in the right direction, we’d like your input. Watch this video and then please provide your comments.