Where Are Silver Line Riders Going?

October 9th, 2014

Ridership patterns on the Silver Line show that Metro’s new line is serving a truly regional market.

Now that school is back in session, the new Silver Line just completed its first full week where “normal” travel patterns are beginning to emerge. Ridership is strong, but where are these new passengers going? The diagram below shows destinations of all riders entering a Silver Line station in the week of September 8-12, 2014.

Where Are SV Riders Going_Sept 2014_typicalweekdayV3

Some observations emerge from this:

  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of Silver Line riders cross the Potomac River, likely all via the Rosslyn tunnel.
  • Just over half (57%) of Silver Line riders are going to the District of Columbia.
  • We are seeing an intra-Silver market emerging of around 1,500 riders/day who travel only between the five new stations, primarily between Wiehle Ave and Tysons Corner stations.
  • Silver Line riders go to Nationals games! ¬†The week shown above included three home baseball games, where hundreds of riders took the Silver Line to Navy Yard-Ballpark station each night.
  • 7% of Silver Line riders travel all the way to a station in Maryland.
  • The top five destinations for Silver Line riders are (in order): Farragut West, McPherson Square, Ballston, Foggy Bottom-GWU, and Metro Center.

The reverse commute market to the Silver Line in the morning is even more regional.  Although the data is not shown above, 31% of reverse commuters to Silver Line come from D.C., and 17% come from Maryland Рmeaning that the Silver Line is already bringing over 1,500 people every morning into Virginia from elsewhere.

What do you see? If you ride the Silver Line, where are you going to or from?

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  1. Kevin
    October 9th, 2014 at 09:15 | #1

    I see strong ridership to Union Station (train travel), but not to National Airport (air travel).

  2. TimK
    October 9th, 2014 at 10:58 | #2

    @Kevin That would make sense, since people boarding the Silver Line have another airport much closer to them (that they can’t get to by Metro…yet).

  3. Emerson
    October 9th, 2014 at 22:24 | #3

    @Kevin That raises an interesting question: how many people are connecting to commuter rail?

  4. mcs
    October 10th, 2014 at 11:09 | #4

    The 11% within the Dulles Corridor will increase dramatically when Phase 2 opens, due to High Tolls on the DTR and Dulles Greenway and development in Tysons. I believe a peak period bus market between Loundon County and DC will remain robust after the silver line opens due to travel time savings. (35min-bus vs 60 min-metro).

    A “low” cost solution to the Rosslyn tunnel issue is to build a pocket track “East” of East Falls Church Metro to provide flexibility to turn back a select # of Silver Line trains. This will allow more blue line trains to pass under the Potomac. I do not think a new blue tunnel will happen unless DC raises the building height along M St. to 20 stories.


  5. Richard
    October 10th, 2014 at 11:32 | #5

    There are lots of offices and work destinations around Union Station. Not so much at Reagan National. (You’d use Crystal City.)

  6. BikeVA
    October 10th, 2014 at 20:08 | #6

    @TimK — The Silver Line doesn’t go to Dulles yet, but it only costs $5 to catch the bus there from Wiehle-Reston East. I live near that station and am amazed at how much luggage I’m seeing passing through in both directions. It’s awesome and cool. Further, the secure (membership) bike room is nearly sold to capacity and the non-secure but covered bike parking is maxed out most days, as is the open air! The station is truly exceeding our hopes. Now if we can only get some wayfinding signs to the W&OD for those who come out for weekend excursions…

  7. George
    October 15th, 2014 at 08:45 | #7

    What’s the impact of the Silver Line on West Falls Church transit patterns, and what’s going to happen with the bus loop at WFC?

  8. TimK
    October 15th, 2014 at 15:12 | #8

    Right, exactly — why would people over there go to National when Dulles is right there? (My comment about them not being able to take Metro to Dulles yet was really an aside.)

Comments are closed.