How Do Marylanders Use Metro?

February 2nd, 2016

We analyzed Metrorail, Metrobus, and MetroAccess ridership for all Maryland residents in response to the Maryland Legislature’s data and analysis request. Newsflash – we have customers from across the state!

Origins of Maryland Rail Riders

Origins of Maryland Rail Riders

In the 2015 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed the WMATA Utilization Study (HB300),which required the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and WMATA to analyze the utilization of Metrorail, Metrobus, and MetroAccess every five years. This year’s analysis is based on the most recent Metrorail passenger survey (2012), Metrobus passenger survey (2014), and actual ridership for MetroAccess for an average day in April 2015. Below are some findings that I found most interesting. But more importantly, here is the complete 2015 Maryland HB300 WMATA Utilization Study (native pdf), which includes all the links to the underlying survey data, interactive charts, and analysis.

  • 82 percent of Metrorail trips by Montgomery County residents are destined for Washington DC in the morning on a typical weekday;
  • 71 percent of Metrobus trips in the AM peak period made by Prince George’s County residents are for work purposes on a typical weekday;
  • 3.3 percent of all trips across all Metro services on a typical weekday are taken by Maryland residents from Frederick, Charles, Calvert, Howard, Anne Arundel, and Baltimore Counties and Baltimore City;
  • 35 percent of other Maryland residents on Metrorail access via commuter rail (MARC) and Amtrak; and
  • 17,600 residents of the District and Virginia reverse-commute into Maryland on Metrorail and bus each morning on a typical weekday (about 5 percent of total system ridership)

Any other nuggets that you found from analyzing the data? Ideas for other ways to graphically represent the findings?

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  1. February 2nd, 2016 at 08:54 | #1

    Can you please clarify a technical question? On slide 4, you say the rail & bus results represent unlinked trips. My previous understanding is that within the rail network, data from the passenger survey are linked trips. (If you go from Bethesda to Navy Yard & change at Gallery Place, that is one trip, not 2.) Is that correct? And how does the bus survey define a trip?

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  2. Justin
    February 2nd, 2016 at 09:53 | #2

    @Ben Ross
    Good catch, you are right, thanks Ben. I meant that note to clarify that we don’t connect bus and rail boardings together for a complete trip. I should have said that the results represent boardings. The surveys define a trip on rail as every time a rider enters the system, and a trip on bus as every time a rider boards a bus. On rail, you are correct that a Bethesda-Navy Yard trip is one boarding but technically two unlinked trips.

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