About PlanItMetro

November 19th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

About This Site

PlanItMetro is the planning blog of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro).  This site will be used to post regular updates on the many planning activities of the Office of Planning (PLAN) and other related offices, and gather feedback on our work from the online community.  This site is not intended to replace the current Planning and Development page on the current Metro website, which will continue to host final reports of plans and studies as they are released to the public.

Terms of Use

This site is intended to provide a venue for meaningful and constructive exchange of ideas, concepts and data between PLAN and the general public.  Use of this site acknowledges your awareness of the following terms of use:

  • Considerate and constructive comments on any blog posts here are welcome and encouraged, and inappropriate comments will be removed.
  • Metro staff will attempt to reply to questions and suggestions posted as comments, as deemed appropriate.  However, Metro is under no obligation to respond to any feedback received through this site.
  • Customer complaints and other non-planning feedback should be directed to the appropriate channel, as described on the Contact Metro page of the wmata.com website.

About PLAN

The Office of Planning is responsible for all long-range planning within Metro, with an eye towards implementing capacity and service improvements to both Metrorail and Metrobus, and advancing transit expansion projects that are best aligned with Metro’s vision and goals.  PLAN is divided up into the following four teams.

Regional & Strategic Planning

The Regional and Strategic Planning branch develops Metro’s long-range vision plan and represents Metro on technical groups to provide information and to influence the studies, plans and programs of regional agencies and localities, especially at the Transportation Planning Board (TPB).   Examples of such multi-corridor studies and plans are Greater Washington 2050, the DC Streetcar Study and Northern Virginia’s TransAction2040.  A top current priority is the development of a long-range regional transit plan that addresses core capacity, regional transit integration, transit priority on roadways, and system access. This branch also coordinates and advocates Metro’s six-year program and long-range plan submittals to the TPB that are essential for funding, and represents Metro on TPB committees in order to best advance Metro’s interests.   The program also develops and updates PLAN’s material on Metro’s intranet and internet website.

Access Planning & Policy Analysis

The Access Planning and Policy Analysis branch develops and utilizes analytic tools and methods to evaluate current policies and practices related to system access.  Key functions include accessibility and paratransit support, bicycle and pedestrian planning, transit-oriented development analysis, transit equity analyses / Title VI, sustainability policy, and the development of GIS and Transit Databases.  Top current priorities are developing and applying a methodology to evaluate Title VI impacts of service changes related to the budget, per federal requirements, and evaluate bus stop needs related to accessibility and infrastructure improvements.  The Access Planning branch also is developing a long-range bicycle and pedestrian improvements program to fit within existing planning frameworks, and manages Metro’s revenue producing car sharing program.


Corridor Planning & Development

The Corridor Planning and Development branch manages the progressive development of new Metrorail extensions and Metrobus priority corridors through the phases of feasibility studies, alternatives analyses, environmental evaluation, financial analyses, preliminary engineering, plus public involvement and agency coordination. In effect, the corridor planning branch prepares projects for final design and for full funding by satisfying WMATA Compact and Federal requirements.The branch particularly studies and supports the implementation of transit signal priority and running way improvements for Metrobus priority corridors. For the modes of light rapid transit (LRT), streetcar and bus rapid transit (BRT), projects of which are presently sponsored by state or local governments, the branch participates in current studies and presents Metro interests, especially in regards to intermodal transfer at Metrorail stations and in service adjustments of Metrobus service.The corridor planning branch also contributes to current efforts to integrarte interoperability strategies study for the LRT and streetcar systems, so that the region’s diverse projects may have common vehicles, power systems, etc.


Capital & Systems Planning

The Capital and Systems Planning branch is responsible for Metro’s bus and rail system evaluation and planning to develop plans for network and facility expansion through collaboration with operations units.  This group leads the development of Metro’s long-term capital enhancement and investment plans through participation and collaboration of involved departments, including the capital needs inventory and prioritization, bus and rail fleet and garage/yard plans, and Metrorail core capacity enhancement feasibility studies (station capacity expansion, pedestrian tunnels and interline connection alternatives).  Other responsibilities include providing system planning and technical support for Metro’s  participation in the regional planning process through COG’s Travel Forecasting Subcommittee and regional corridor development studies, and conducting technical analysis to support short-term operations and planning such as visual simulation, transit ridership trend and market analysis, ridership forecasting, Metrorail line load application and cost-benefit economic analysis.


  1. Ed. L. Tennyson
    December 15th, 2010 at 22:57 | #1

    Metro must get more businesslike. It has become too expensive to sustain. Bus costs have almost doubled per passenger-mile over the past six years. MetroRail is up \only\ 18 % which is in line with inflation. You MUST raise MetroBus load factor to 12 passenger-miles per bus-mile. You must elim-inate wasteful duplication like Route 2-C duplicating Route 401-402 between Dunn Loring and Ty-son’s Corner when loads are so negligible. You need to plan a new Pink Subway line from Teneley- town south on Wisconsin Avenue to\P\ Street to DuPont Circle, Logan Circle, and New Jersey Ave. to Union Station. You also need a new Lavender line from Van Ness north on Connecticut Avenue to the Purple Line. This will solve the Red Line problem with three lines (1) Red as is every 6 minutes peak, (2) Pink from Grosvenor to Union Station via Georg-town every 6 minutes peak and (3) Lavender from the Purple Line to Silver Spring via Van Ness.
    Routes 32+36 etc. have lost almost half their ridership since 1992. They do not suit the public and they cost too much. In 2009, FTA reports that MetroBus needed a subsidy of 95 cents per passenger-mile but MetroRail needed only 19 cents, one-fifth as much. We need more of that.
    We need the Columbia Pike Street Car. FTA reports Light Rail including Street cars in 2009 cost
    63 cents per passenger-mile to operate, when MetroBus cost $ 1.24, twice as much.Transportat-
    ion Research Board Special report #1221 of 1989 found that Light Rail attracts from 35 % to 43 more riders than buses on the same line. REX needs to be converted to Light Rail using the median strip for an exclusive right-of-way and to save pedestrians lives. Several bus riders are killed each year on Richmond Highway. trying to cross. Congressman Gerald E. Connolly has an-
    nounced the need for this. BRAC establishes the need. The Green Line needs a Petworth Station at Varnum Street, N.W. I know this will require a few billion for investment but this nation needs new investment in the worst way. It will be recovered from saving on oil and labor, plus property value and fare revenue appreciation in about sis or seven years. That is as good as Wall Street.

  2. Mark
    January 10th, 2011 at 17:07 | #2

    @Ed. L. Tennyson
    Mr. Tennyson,

    Thanks for visiting PlanItMetro.com and for your astute (as always) comments. Some of your comments such as about the bus routes are better suited to your successor (Hamre)as the staff coordinator for the Arlington Transportation Commission than to your predecessor (me). A year ago, I joined Metro to work on a new long-range plan so for any comments or questions about 2040, I’m the one to contact.

    With regard to what you’ve labeled as the “Lavender” line, we’re finding that while the Red Line will be well-utilized in 2040, if we have 100% eight-car trains operating at 26 trains per hour, the crowding should be tolerable. I wish I could say the same for the lines that go through Rosslyn (Blue, Orange and Dulles) and through L’Enfant (Yellow and Green). We’ve begun posting some material about this, specifically in the presentation that we gave to the Technical Advisory Group (TAG meeting #4) in July. To address limited capacity through L’Enfant and Rosslyn, we have modeled separations of the Yellow and Blue Lines, respectively, to follow different routes through downtown than the Green and Orange/Dulles Lines follow. We have also outlined a possibility for the Red Line which, as you suggest, would follow Wisconsin Avenue south from Tenleytown. As of yet, the District of Columbia staff have shown little interest, but that may change as the planning process continues.

    With regard to LRT in the Richmond Highway corridor, in addition to modeling Metrorail options, we are developing a network to model of potential services that would extend planned streetcar services, and establish LRT in some new corridors. In our discussions so far with Fairfax County staff, there is interest in seeing the results of a model run of extending Metrorail from Huntington to Lorton via Richmond Highway. I will ask them about modeling another option to have LRT there.

    Finally,with regard to a new in-line station for the Green Line near Grant Circle, we will consult with DC staff about their interest in it. We have modeled five potential in-line stations, three of which would be in DC: on the Red Line at Kansas Ave NE, on the Blue/Orange Lines at Oklahoma Ave/Benning Rd NE, and on the Green Line at St. Elizabeth’s (DHS). That Green Line station could do well if the planned redevelopment for the DHS campus is connected effectively. The effectiveness of the other two stations, and I suspect it’s the same near Grant Circle, would depend upon extensive redevelopment, too.

    I’m glad that you found the PlanItMetro site, and hope that you visit it from time to time, and tell me what you think.


  3. August 29th, 2011 at 14:48 | #3

    The expansion of the National Naval Medical Center into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) is adding to the already congested traffic at the Medical Center Metro Station in Bethesda. Are there any plans to build a an underground tunnel from Medical Center Station to the WRNMMC side of Rockville Pike? Are there any plans to move the north heading bus bays to the WRNMMC side of Rockville Pike? Both of these changes would improve pedestrian safety and traffic flow.

  4. Michael
    August 30th, 2011 at 09:50 | #4

    Hi, Alan:

    While this page isn’t the proper place for your comment, we do have some update for you on the status of this project. The project’s page is available online and lists the locally preferred alternative: a combination of both a shallow ped tunnel and additional deep elevator.



  5. November 2nd, 2011 at 17:50 | #5

    Your blog and on line information looks very nice. I have developed an application called greencitystreets.com that tries to educate people about public transport operations. There is an on-line game, wiki and social network prototype. It would be fun if you wanted to use the application (especially the game) in your planning efforts. Just contact me if you are interested. It’s all online now so you can try it out.

  6. Dan Nickell
    December 29th, 2011 at 14:34 | #6

    I am very unhappy with the development work underway at Dunn Loring Metro. From the Metro web site:

    “Proposed development includes up to 720 multifamily units, including 8 percent affordable housing, and 65,000 square feet of retail space on the portion of Metro’s 15-acre site that will be sold to the developer, Mill Creek Residential Trust…

    “On the portion of the site to be retained by Metro, Mill Creek Residential Trust plans to construct:
    • 2,000 Metro parking spaces, an increase of 645 spaces;
    • 60,000 square feet of retail development that the developer plans to lease from Metro.

    Great. They are going to give us 645 new parking spaces and then load up the area with 720 new families (each with 1-2 cars) and customers for the new retail shops. Parking at Dunn Loring was bad before–full up by 7AM!!–and now they are taking away, in effect, 2-300 parking spaces. Who’s bright idea was this and why no public discussion?

    Dan Nickell

  7. Michael
    January 3rd, 2012 at 11:19 | #7


    The additional parking spaces are not intended for use by the new residents of the station area. These are Metrorail station parking spaces. The new residents will walk to Metro, not drive and park.


  8. DC Jim
    November 26th, 2013 at 07:25 | #8

    @Ed. L. Tennyson I think the thing to think about is how will we pay for this? The current system suffered a lot of changes early on such as elimination of plans for a third track in tunnels that could have allowed bypasses and allowed winter storage as well as moving the red line away from the georgetown area to the route it has. The water table is low in that part of the city, you think the problems they have at medical center and friendship heights are bad, they pale in comparison to what would happen there.

  9. Scott Anderson
    July 1st, 2016 at 09:37 | #9

    Hi folks,

    The Potomac Yard Metrorail station is moving forward at pretty good clip. For years now, we have seen the Silver Line stations show up as “future stations” on the Metrorail maps – first the stations from the Orange Line junction to Wiehle – Reston East, which are now in service, and then the other six stations which are to open in a few years. However, Potomac Yard had never appeared in any form on the maps. Show my Alexandria friends some love – what does it take to show Potomac Yard as a future station on the rail map? Thanks!

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